Exhibitions | Salt Lake Area Exhibitions

Grief: A Stupid Process No One Wants to Do at Chapman Branch Library

Salt Lake City
May 6 – June 16

Artwork by Hyrum Despain.

ARTIST STATEMENT: The truth is that I seldom paint. Instead, a younger, more confused version of me paints. Art has been an outlet for me to express the confusion I have felt from the chaos of my home life as a child. Acrylic paint, oil pastels, soft pastels, and pens are all tools I use to articulate myself. The intense emotions I felt growing up are muddied by years and years of neglect. I can’t pinpoint exact traumatic moments, so instead, I try to paint overarching feelings and thoughts. This leads to my pieces looking as though I was trying to remember a bad dream I had last night. When viewing my art, you see floating heads, appendages coming from seemingly nowhere, objects made of haze, eyes looking directly through you, and open mouths screaming as though they want to tell you something.
Although art is my therapy, it is not just for me. I hope you feel acknowledged by my pieces. We all have bad days and worse thoughts, but that doesn’t make us bad people.


ARTIST BIOGRAPHY: Since an early age, art has been an outlet for Hyrum. At age 10, he was illustrating comic books about a world where heroes and justice prevailed. At age 13, he was using Canva to photoshop his favorite video game characters into unlikely scenarios. But art never became a way to express himself until his freshmen year. Instead of telling stories about heroes narrowly outsmarting the villains, he transported audiences to an abstract world filled with inner turmoil and grief. Hyrum explored themes of childhood trauma and isolation by depicting human-like forms set in a dreamlike haze. He used these scenes as a personal narrative, a way to sort out his inner thoughts and emotions.
During a 3-month study abroad program in the UK, he took inspiration from the gritty London architecture and the fine art riddled through the city. Artists such as Leon Golub and Nancy Spero had a profound impact on the materials he used. He began to incorporate Risograph printing and screenprinting into his usual routine of acrylic paints and oil pastels. Now that he is back in Utah, he plans to build his portfolio and eventually apply to art colleges.

Chapman Branch
577 South 900 West

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