Like many artists, past and present, San Francisco-based painter Jacob Dhein is inspired by the world around him. But rather than pigeonhole himself as a landscape or figurative artist, Dhein paints both. His work depicts everything, from busy cityscapes to painterly portraits, but his beautifully expressive style is consistent throughout. “Inspiration for me comes from all around,” Dhein tells My Modern Met. “It could be a person I see on public transit, my family, friends, movies, books, or a beautiful backlit city scene at sunset as I am taking a walk.”
While Dhein’s oil paintings depict real subjects and scenes, the artist pushes the boundaries of realism by adding vibrant flashes of color with expressive brushstrokes and subtle paint drips. “It is my goal to explore the beauty that lies within the division between representation and abstraction,” reveals the artist. “It will be my take on a modern impressionism using the figure and cityscape as the building blocks of this contemporary genre.”
Each painting is highly textured and full of visible energy. As a viewer, you can almost imagine watching Dhein work as he quickly layers swatches of color into the canvas. “There is a visual map in many of the works that allows the viewer to see my process,” explains Dhein. “This is especially evident in my paintings of dancers. From the initial toning of the panel to the last mark, the viewer is able to see the process upon close inspection.”
Check out some of Dhein's oil paintings below and see more from his portfolio on his website. If you're feeling especially inspired by his work, the artist hosts painting workshops in various museums and galleries. Find out more here.