I’ve known, since I was a kid, that I needed to—that I was made to—work and create with my hands. I’d observe any form of creative expression I could, back in 1970's and 1980's--cook; bake; craft; paint; or build--and then try to do everything I reasonably could, myself. My dad would sometimes take me to construction sites, to pick through the debris: looking for useful pieces of wood to add to the on-going project of different shapes and pieces that consumed our back patio. Driving away, I'd lament how--rather than heading home-I wanted to stay behind to help the crew build something. Passing by a semitruck, with a load of timber on its trailer, my older brother would routinely ask, “Darren. What would you build with that?” As a teen, when I walked past a neighbor who was welding in the driveway, I asserted to myself--I'm going to be a welder someday. When we'd go by the local crafts supply place--Crafts Etc.–we rarely bought anything, but I would walk the aisles and plan in my head the creative projects I would one-day complete. I was always dreaming of being creative. But by the late 1980’ and 90’s, the trades, crafts and construction were no longer “proper paths” for those hoping to move up the social ladder. 1980's or 1880's--I guess the timeframe doesn't necessarily matter. We're almost all taught to ignore our instinct and become who we are supposed to be, rather than remain who we already know we are. I was to find a career. Enter college.
Darren having a much needed dinner with his wife, Tatiana.
As owner and operator of Houston Honey Do, Darren has provided home-repair services in the greater Houston area since 2006.
Our parents couldn’t afford an education for my brother or I, but getting a degree was supposed to be the answer to, well, everything. 8 years of higher-education, spread over a 12 year span (via much struggle and hard work), with four degrees to mark my progress–-the last of which, an MBA in 2003–-would be the accomplishments that would ensure my place in the landscape of working American. Money and happiness were on the horizon.
And yet, though I very much value my formal education--through specific circumstances and life--I realized that I didn't fit, not in their construct at least. Over several iterations, industries and paths, I leapt forward and fell back and went sideways for quite a few years--accepting a place in the world, while always mourning that it wasn’t MY place. I was a businessman and a professional for sure; but more deeply, I was a maker; a craftsman; an artist; a creative; independent but a generalist trapped in a specialized, and eventually "corporatized" world--weighing and passing judgement upon myself by other's values, paths and expectations.
I couldn't keep playing this game, towing the line. How do I BE creative? Where does that belong?
Here: d.p.Etlinger Fine Art.
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Like so many, I find great inspiration, and a kinship toward, the impressionists and post impressionists of the previous century. But as a kid...I didn't like it at all! Though I have been a study of art most of my life, unlike many artists, I did not study art in college--opting for business, instead. It wasn't until later that Van Gogh, Monet, & Manet--these rebels--began to, well, impress me. A tour of the MFA--any MFA--gets my juices flowing; but I'd be remis, and wholly insincere, if I didn't also acknowledge William Alexander, Bob Ross and the many other artistic personalities from the early public television days who greatly influenced my creativity.
I have a natural instinct for perspective in drawing and painting; most things come to the page rather easily--absent, human figures--not my strong point. Being that I didn't formally study art, I don't necessarily follow a customary approach or implore any special techniques--nothing that I can really identify (or maybe I am too ignorant to articulate). I paint from the top of the canvas to the bottom...and most of what I paint is simply made up as i am...painting. I have naturally gravitated toward an impressionist style; and towards landscapes, specifically. But that, too, will change, I am sure.
In the early 2000's, I was a metal sculptor, fabricator and maker of metal furniture and accessories. From 2001-2005, I lived and operated from my warehouse studio located in the 5th ward--The Foundry--just on the outskirts of downtown Houston (near the current St. Arnold’s Brewery)--appearing in various individual and areawide shows including FotoFest and the ArtCrawl.
The bohemian life I lived then eventually had to come to an end--replaced by more sensible pursuits, naturally. A bitter pill at first--that transition first lead me to work for someone else. But as my about story above indicates, that was destined to end and I went back to self employment; and eventually marriage. Now, with my wife--Tatiana--we have two young girls.
But my creativity needed another outlet and I became serious about painting around 2015-2016; I'd placed a half-dozen paintings in a West U-Houston gallery in mid-2019--which was exciting and showed promise. but the onset of Covid in Spring, 2020--and the constraints it created--lead me away from galleries to focus on my website and outdoor venues for now, though I may return to a gallery in time.
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