Artist Feature: Bill Dunlap

Editor Shenyah Webb, Art, May 26th, 2016

Art that seeks to remember the tragedy of hate crimes.

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When I was 20 years old I was carjacked, then abducted and raped. Two different incidents on the same summer night. What seemed that my biggest fears manifested into reality, the worst of my experience wasn’t even the obvious, it was the cops. They accused me of lying; I felt unsafe, abandoned, scared, and powerless. That night I was a victim in each of these instances, twice by criminals, the woman with a gun to my head, and the men who took my body, and again by the officers who were supposed to serve and protect me.

When Bill Dunlap first shared his paintings with me, I was moved by his fine art documentation of hate crimes. Sure, we see them in the news each day; racists, classists, misogynists… But the experience through his monochromatic pallet offers a different sort of spotlight. A raw reel reminding us to not become desensitized, to not forget. “I don’t have answers to the problems, but I felt compelled to paint the scenes. I felt if I froze these scenes on canvas, they might somehow not be forgotten.”

In the gallery below, I fused two of his series together. I liked how his vibrant, noisy street scenes, so full of life, counteract the silent black-and-white memorial portraits, pulled from the same streets. A reminder that life keeps moving with or without you; there will always be bustling, the horns will still honk, the sirens will sound, even while the guns fire.

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Bill Dunlap artistBill Dunlap is an artist who splits his time between New York City and Western Maryland. Much of the inspiration comes from NYC, and most of the painting happens in Maryland. His work has been shown, collected, and written about in many places – in the US and abroad.

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Shenyah Webb

Shenyah Webb is a Portland-based visual artist and musician. She has been with NAILED Magazine since its inception in 2012 and has served as the Arts Editor and a Contributing Editor since its launch in 2013. A Detroit native, she attended The College for Creative Studies, where she focused on Fine Art and Industrial Design. She is currently enrolled in a Somatic Expressive Arts Education and Therapy training program, studying under Lanie Bergin. You can learn more about Shenyah here. (Shenyah.com)