Typical Monsters: The Surreal Worlds of Dan May

What Comes Down, Must Go Up

Dan May is a Cincinnati, Ohio-based artist whose strange work I’ve recently been introduced to. As a modern narrative painter, May cultivates a rich texture of the surreal and mysterious in his highly original flowing style. His detail-intensive works have become widely recognized for their ability to transcend the natural states of space and time into something dreamlike. His landscapes are dark places populated by baleful, sad-eyed creatures who, like those of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are, seem the opposite of threatening, and their gloomy eyes giving them a look of longing and loneliness.

The seemingly playful creatures inhabiting his vibrantly tended palette appear to have the qualities of your typical monster, all the while maintaining a humanity that reflects our own wide range of emotions and imperfections. May’s propensity for using hair as a metaphor has become a focal point that he has built on to speak about larger aspects of humanity as well as the dream world, and gives a strong nod to his progressive personal growth and evolution as an artist.

Interesting, provocative and otherwordly, I give you the art of Dan May.

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About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
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17 Responses to Typical Monsters: The Surreal Worlds of Dan May

  1. Thanks, Stephen, I like this artist. The cat, Ripple, is my favorite.

  2. Dan May gives off a sort of sad, lonely “tone of voice” in his paintings. I feel like he must also be very approachable as a person, and very sympatico with others. Thank you for featuring him.

    • hi victoria … funny how we glean certain aspects of an artist’s personality from his work. i felt the same as you. i get the feeling he’s a man of deep feeling and empathy, that he relates easily to and with people. he’s probably an excellent, loyal friend. isn’t that interesting?

  3. Impybat says:

    “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”…I wonder if he’s familiar with Mike Clelland’s blog, Hidden Experience. Lots of owls over there that might not be what they seem, too. Dan May does some beautiful work.

  4. ilargia64 says:

    I love it! There is a lot of loneliness though in a lot of his paintings…I do not why I thought he was older…

  5. A lot of good stuff. Some of it reminds me of Ghibli studios.

  6. ideflex says:

    I want my very own “hopeless wanderer”….

  7. The Guat says:

    Dude … Dan rocks Go Buckeye native!

  8. The Hook says:

    In a perfect world, Dan would be illustrating my daughter’s book series, The Misadventures of Misery.
    His work is beyond belief and description. He is a true artist. Thank you for introducing me to his world, Stephen.

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