BRIGHT FUTURE original mixed media wall art

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Size & Details

Size & Details

Large-scale contemporary mixed media artwork crafted from layers of hand-cut salvaged metal, vintage papers and paint. Features a western cowboy against a dreamy mountainscape with a surreal flock of birds and butterflies adorning his shoulders. Read the whole story below.

  • Medium: vintage paper, salvaged metal, wood and acrylic on wood
  • Size: 64.25" H x 64.5" W x 3" D (framed)
  • Frame: black with metallic-gold trim float frame and Museum Plexi
  • Hardware: ready to hang with D-ring hangers on back
  • One of a kind


People Do Not Lack Strength. They Lack Will.

It was day nine hundred and seventy-four. His gaze was set upon the next hill, then the next ridge, then the next canyon, and finally the next mountain. He had passed through forests of trees so richly verdant they were almost black; through mossy swamps damp and rich that had left his clothes so rife with musk and mold that he had discovered several previously unknown types of mushroom fungi in the folds of his jacket. He had crawled on his hands, knees, and elbows over countless felled trees, over the tops of innumerous rocky crags that had left his calloused hands and wrists cut and bruised and then healed and cut again. The stains on his coat read like a periodic table of natural elements.

He drank water that had flowed from the tops of icy peaks down through the skulls of ancient elk that lie at the bottom of timeless riverbeds, the roar of the water drowning out the sounds of the crickets as he kneeled waterside to ladle handfuls to his parched lips. The first three hundred days he was constantly adjusting to various altitudes, climes, temperatures, weather, seasons; now, it seemed, he had found respite in a season of unchanging moods. He paused and set his gaze on a grove of darkly colored evergreens. And it was then that he saw it.

He couldn’t tell if it was a trick of light so he moved closer. He didn’t see how this could be possible…. he approached. As he got closer to the largest of the pines, he could see, carved into its leathery and ancient bark what appeared to be a handful of letters. He had not seen a soul in nine hundred and seventy-four days. No bootprints, no axe marks in trees, no human paths through thickets, no ruts in muddy creeks from ox carts, no piles of human waste or garbage, no human bones bleaching in the sun, no gravemarkers or crucifixes stabbed into the earth.  No sign of humans, anywhere, which is what brought him to this country in the first place.

But now, scrawled upon this tree, was a group of letters that perplexed and astonished him.


And so he made camp here, made friends with the trees and the ground squirrels, collected stones and built a more permanent windbreak. He studied the letters, tried to decipher the code. He stayed for weeks that turned into months. He stood for so many hours, staring at the letters, contemplating, that birds began to build nests in his clothes, take shelter in his hat, and pick beetles off the flowers that had begun to grow on his unmoving form. He was transfixed.  How ironic that the one thing that he had come to get away from, mankind, was anchoring him to this spot and capturing his mind and filling the hours of his precious days.

One day he awoke and saw a bird he had never seen before. He moved toward it and it flew down and landed on his shoulder.  As he patiently watched it, blinking its bird eyes, preening its feathers, he decided it was time to create his own answers to this riddle.

He dug through his torn leather rucksack and pulled out a tattered and mildewed book. On the cover was the name Victor Hugo. Treating these mysterious letters that were carved into the tree like an initialism, he came up with a word to match each letter. It took him several more days to complete the phrase, and when he was done, he used some carbon from his campfire to scrawl the phrase onto a page in his book. Then he closed the book and tossed it into the fire.

Turning the tree, he pulled out the same knife with which he shaved his beard and carefully cut the letters from the bark, leaving only a large empty square in its place. He picked up his rucksack and turned his gaze back to the deer path he'd been on so many months before, but not before glancing back to see the book had landed open in the firepit, its pages turning in the swell of heat.

He felt at ease as he watched the words being eaten by the flames:

People Do Not Lack Strength. They Lack Will.



This piece began before the image was even a concept I could name. A story arrived to me - a story of a man in the wilderness, adorned by birds as he stood staring at something he could not make sense of - and slowly, the textures and colors took shape in my mind. To fully capture the story, I knew this work would need to be large. Oversized, even.

I began with a panel of wood, over 5' tall by 5' wide, and treated it with a layer of vintage sheet music, highlighted with a bright wash of white paint. He would be in the mountains, I knew, so I created a range of peaks in paint onto which I would configure this scene.

I sketched my intrepid cowboy character onto the background and began layering in vintage, found papers - creating contours with carefully placed, hand-cut pieces of color - and dreamy depth with scraps of metal. Each piece was cut with scissors and tin snips, pared and adjusted to create just the right shapes, smooth edges of paper meeting rougher edges of metal, melting together like the minutes and days this cowboy figure stood staring in the forest.

Thousands of unique pieces of materials came together over weeks of careful work - nose and eyes and birds and beaks - a cohesive amalgam of some of my favorite techniques with paper and metal.


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Dolan Geiman Mixed Media

Not one to be constrained by any one artistic medium, Dolan uses a variety of found materials and techniques to create his mixed media wall art, including assemblage, painting, and screenprinting.