-//-Dylan Lenz-//-

What kind of art do you do?
I play music mostly. Aside from writing on my own, I’ve been helping my friend Donovan get his music out by playing bass and doing vocals in his metal band called Arkavexor. I've recently gotten back into doing visual art. I bought a little black book to carry around incase an idea to draw something come up. I have assorted sketchbooks and other projects but hardly anything is finished. I come back to stuff over time.

Why do you create?
For different reasons. Some of the topics I pick are kind of traumatic. For me to kind of go back and re-live that is sort of an accepting and looking at it more in-depth. Another way of processing my emotions. I use it as self-care. 

I feel like a lot of what I do is art. When I do yoga or meditate. Or even getting ready in the morning, to look cute. I feel like you gotta have some sort of artistic sense to do yourself up. There can be art in the way we work too. I realized the other day I'm more prolific than I give myself credit for.

I think I got the sense from you when I first walked in that most of what you do is art.
Thank you. I like to dance too, I'll go out to the goth club, or watch hip hop tutorials. If the right song comes on I know how to move to it. I also do fire performance, I've been doing that for six years, and that’s helped me a lot too. I got diagnosed with pyromania when I was a kid. Basically you can get diagnosed with pyromania if you use setting fires as a coping skill. I didn’t like set any buildings on fire, for the record. It’s a really nice release having control over something so scary.

When you are finished with a project do you feel like you’ve concluded anything or is it all moving further into understanding?
I feel like I'm always looking back at projects and trying to make something more of them. Or maybe try to convey some advice for someone who may be going through something similar. There is one song that I've been writing about child abuse. Right now I'm in the process of getting gear together to record and work off my own ideas. I have an attachment to those songs and I don’t want them to be conveyed in any other way than how I resonate with them.

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What kind of a trust relationship do you have to have with your bandmates to perform a song like that?
I have friends that I trust a lot they know stuff that I've been through and they care about me. I'm not super worried about performing. I like playing music but I wouldn’t say I'm out to make it big.

How do you think art changes the world?
I think that it’s a big tool for learning. Not just culturally but when people look at art they might feel empathy about a situation.

I think the biggest thing is to be thankful for what you have. You may not have a studio or a venue to present your art but you might have your supplies, or you have your ideas. I'm not saying this to be trivializing but it is important to remind yourself what you’ve got and who your friends are. Just try to maintain, not get sucked into your darkness.

Do you have aspirations for what you hope your art does for you? 
I look at it as me trying to complete myself. Using it as a learning tool. I have this idea of what kind of person I want to be when I'm older and just trying to get there. Feeling more stable and grounded in myself. Basically un-fuck-with-able. I feel like at some point through art one of the things I can learn is to better understand situations and my emotions around them. 

What’s the greatest thing art has ever done for you?
I've benefitted so much from art in my life, whatever it be; improving my confidence or playing shows with bands that I really admire, going on tour, working with different people, learning from people. It’s the gel that’s held my life together. I was trying to pinpoint what’s the greatest thing art has done for me. I think it’s that I'm still alive. I'm grateful for art.

When did you first identify as an artist?
It’s weird thinking about that question in regards to self-esteem. I've been where I'm like Oh I'm not really an artist…. I mean I draw but… And then there have been times where I'm like, you fucking got out of bed today, hell yeah you’re an artist. I guess I've always considered myself an artist I've just had a wavering esteem about that.

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How do you define success?
Every step of the way. I don’t think that loss is defeat, it teaches me something about myself that I can restructure from there, and keep trying. That too is a success. If you got it the first time that’s great. But I think you have a deeper respect for it if you stumbled a few times.

What are you most thankful for?
I’m just thankful to be alive and just to be able to create what I can. I could go on and on about everything I'm grateful for. I really cherish my family, my friends and not to sound materialistic but I appreciate what I have. I appreciate being an able bodied person to get my ideas down. I definitely don’t take it for granted.

What gives you strength?
I mostly have to get it from myself. I spend a lot of time isolating, even if I'm not creating. Just being gentle. I also gain a lot of strength from my friends but it’s important to pick yourself up and be your own nourishment. Loving yourself is constant learning.

Anything else you want to share?
Regardless of medium it’s like an orchestra. Getting different parts working together, making sure I have something to eat, practicing self-care and taking the time to work on stuff even it doesn’t turn out to be something tangible. Then there’s your relationships with people, the work you put in to get the mediums, the supplies to create and it takes all of those things working in unison to get art out.

One more question, what is beauty to you?
I find beauty in natural curves and bends. Growth. I admire shape and form. I'm really thankful all my senses work. I guess it’s kind of why I won’t go through with killing myself even though sometimes I feel like I don’t want to be around, there’s so much beautiful stuff to experience daily.

I feel like the more you focus on something more the more something beautiful in it unveils. Take a person. People are like a diamond and you see different facets of them. You may never see the whole diamond but each facet hints at a deeper beauty beyond what you’re seeing. It’s there, and life throws glimpses of that deeper beauty at you everyday. You just have to take the time to notice.

-Dylan Lenz