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Dayas Silvis' Exhibit of Illustrations

Updated: Jul 6

Stars in a Literary Sky:

July 2nd - August 3rd

Art Opening: July 5th from 6-8PM

Classic literature begs our imagination. As we read, we open windows and images fly out. They fill our sky with glittering diamonds. With stars of distant galaxies. Reading like astronauts we can land on and explore small planets peopled by new and often strange characters. In Dayas Silvis’s capable hands the words become stars in a constellation. Images in a lively construction that is organized to point a way back into the story from which they sprang.

What significance has illustration? The invention of the printing press not only democratized words, but also images, and the golden age of illustration springing from the industrial revolution’s mass production led to a flourish of advertising and children’s literature. When one considers these began as drawings and watercolor sketches on a singular artist’s studio table their imagination becomes all the more remarkable. The drawings we associate with AA Milne’s Pooh Bear are iconic now. We see the hundred acre wood “just so” because EH Shepherd invented them.  And Rudyard Kipling’s own illustrations for his Just So Stories present his way forward into these magical tales of how various animals came to be the way they are.

Silvis brings the viewer “just so” to see classic tales through her imagination. Presented with lines, colors and textures composed into momentary visions, her renderings form constellations across a literary sky. Constellations by which, like the mariners of old, we can find our way to distant lands, or we can find our way home again.

Dayas Silvis' Artists Statement:

I believe that illustrations can pull someone in and make readings seem more interesting. I know that's how it worked for me. The entire reason why I enjoy reading is because a long time ago pictures are what sparked my interest in it.  I find that if I can't picture the world I'm reading about, then I have a difficult time getting through a story. 

When I'm asked why I chose to do a series of classic illustrations, two memories come to mind. One is a dollar store in Ohio. You see, I would spend a couple weeks every summer at my grandma's in Ohio and she would take me to this store in the mall. It had these big bins of things and everything was a dollar or under. One of those big bins was full of children's illustrated classics books.

They were abridged versions of classic tales with illustrations in them. She would let me pick out several books and that's what I would do with my summer. I would draw, and I would read, and I would play Atari.  A second memory for me is a teacher that I had in school. Mrs. Vodopivec noticed I liked drawing superheroes and reading comic books. She pointed out to me that there were novels in the Scholastic book order about those same superheroes. I came to realize that reading could be extremely fun, especially whenever I already had the characters in my head from the comic books I read, and the cartoons that I watched. I ventured that way into reading. And once you start reading you tend to find your tribe. People who see you reading something and say "hey, if you like that you might like this”.

It snowballs into entirely new worlds that you can venture into, for amusement or for education or to escape from the world we live in. Hopefully the images that I've put on the paper in this exhibition will spark your interest in the books that they are based on. Maybe you will pick up one of these books and begin reading one of these classic tales. Maybe

they will spark someone else's love of reading in addition to my own.

About Dayas Silvis:

Dayas Silvis was born in Johnstown, PA, raised in Northern Cambria and Indiana Counties. She earned her degree in visual communication from Oakbridge Academy of Art and Pittsburgh Art Institute. Originally wanting to illustrate comic books and children's books, her interests shifted to portraiture and pet portraits, trying to capture the emotions around her. She loves the contrast of black and white work; charcoal remains her favorite medium. She will delve into color using pastels or markers when the situation calls for it. She still loves illustration, but typically only by request. "It's the emotion in a scene, a story, or a photograph that grabs my attention. If I can't get the emotional impact out of my head it has to be put on paper." When not working on an art project, Dayas is a layout designer at Creps United Publications. She has also served on the board of the Indiana Art Association since 2009. She enjoys spending her time with her two boys and husband. Her favorite place is home and her interests include gardening, wool felting, video games, and all things geeky.

Article by Brian Jones

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