The anime and manga style is one of the most fluid, colourful and exciting art movements of our era.
Though it originated in Japan, the skill required to present representations of this kinetic art form has inspired many artists worldwide.
Among them is Dakota Jordan La Ness, who has a display of his art at the Cayman Brac Heritage House from 29 March-8 April.
“It all started when I was really young, like five [years old] and used to watch shows like Dragon Ball and Voltron. I just thought it was the coolest thing. There were also video games like Mega Man, which really looked cool to me. and I thought ‘I want to draw just like these guys,’” Dakota tells Weekender.
The artist says he enjoys drawing people and very intricate and appealing backgrounds. Indeed, in the exhibition at the Brac House, there are approximately 60 pictures that showcase every aspect of the young man’s talents. The prolific artist explains that the creation of a new work can vary depending on how it develops.
“Sometimes I’ll get in a stop because I’ll be deciding what colour to use, which concept I should go for. Sometimes they can take a whole day or just go really quick and be an hour or even 10 minutes.”
So how does the 18-year old artist get inspired?
“Usually it all starts with a dream I have. I’ll get a vision in my head and I’ve just got to put that on paper. Sometimes I do get inspiration from certain people or certain stories I see on television. It kind of inspires me to think, ‘I’ll remodel that in my own sculpture.’”
Dakota, a resident of the Brac, says that sometimes he bases his art on other people, but at other times it’s purely from his vivid imagination.
“Then, people are pretty wowed and amazed,” he rightly notes.
“My exhibition will have a little bit of everything in it, for everyone from everywhere and every how. A little bit of action, a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of fun, a little bit of culture, a little bit of worldwide phenomenons.”
The exhibition, Anime: Dakota Style runs at Cayman Brac Heritage House, with an opening night reception at 7pm Tuesday, 29 March. As the poster says – Nobody does Mad Genius Like Dakota. Get ready for total sensory overload.
Saskia Edwards of the Heritage House explains the opening night’s schedule:
“We plan to have live musical entertainment and light refreshments … The opening night is really an opportunity to meet and talk to the artist himself and find out more about his artwork, like what inspires him, tools he works with and so on.
“We certainly encourage everyone to come out and support Dakota by joining us … and encouraging others to stop by to view the display during the week.”
Also at Heritage House
On Friday, 25 March, the live demonstration day will feature how to make a trap net, says Edwards.
“The trap net was a main means of making a living for some of our early settlers. Its purpose was for trapping turtles. Turtle meat was an important food source in earlier times, and the shell of the hawksbill turtles was used to make commercial products such as bracelets, combs, et cetera. Mr. Henley Scott will be our demonstrator for that day.”
The following day, the front porch of Heritage House will be decorated like a traditional Caymanian home as part of the latest volunteer workshop day, says Edwards.
“Items to be placed out front include products made of silver thatch – ground baskets, brooms, thatch-rope rocking chairs, old time grater and more. Volunteers will help hang and place items and read little descriptions on the historical significance of each…
“The volunteer days are designed to help build public awareness, community spirit and instil great pride for Caymanian heritage through the preservation of this cultural establishment. Anyone is welcome to join us this weekend. To get involved people can call the Heritage House to sign up or just stop by on Saturday.”
For more information on all events, contact [email protected] or ring 948-0563.