North Tahoe artist blending adrenaline and art | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe artist blending adrenaline and art

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

What do you get when you put a camera, a paint brush and a pencil into the hands of a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie?

You get the work of Incline Village’s Matt Dodge.

Dodge spends many daylight hours exploring the outdoors, absorbing the outdoors, and then translating the experience. This time he’s incorporated the experience into his mixed-media modern art exhibit, “A Sierra Serenade,” now featured at North Tahoe Arts.

“I’m reflecting on what I see in the landscape around here ” the beauty ” interpreting it through my own self and putting it down on paper to share with others,” Dodge said.

Dodge grew up a surfer in Southern California before moving to Boulder to study fine arts, where he also began snowboarding in 1982. He and friends were pioneers in the snowboarding industry when Dodge went on to win first place in a half-pipe competition at the World Championships in 1986 in Breckenridge, Colo. He remains an active outdoorsman using adrenaline to fuel his imagery.

“My art is a replica of what I observe when I’m out doing adventure and sports in nature,” Dodge said. “It offers a different perspective for me to draw upon.”

This region’s landscape inspires most of Dodge’s work. The California-Nevada border remains one of his favorite places to explore, he said.

Dodge’s work blends multiple mediums including photography, painting, drawing and etching. He begins with an outdoor snapshot, layers in varying art and graphic techniques, and ends up with a resulting unique product which he terms “sculpted photographs.”

“[His work] is unique. It’s a fine art. His technique has a lot of intricate detail, sort of a less-is-more. He uses photographic imagery and the graphic arts,” said Susan Nielson, a photographer and member of North Tahoe Arts collaborative artisan shop.

Laura Read, a photographer, writer and North Tahoe Arts exhibit committee chair helped bring Dodge’s work to the gallery.

“My favorite piece is ‘Washoe,'” said Read. “Because it has elements of water and rocks, it has illuminacity and there are lights, shadows, and some of the parts are recognizable as Lake Tahoe, rearranging the elements into an entirely new vision.”