From art galleries to sports stadiums and banks to bottling companies, Dirk Walker’s signature style of abstract realism can easily be identified by his untraditional, brilliant, thick and thin brushstrokes. Without question, his technique also puts a fresh spin on a very traditional genre: sporting and wildlife art.
Walker will be one of the featured artists at the inaugural Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival coming up November 5 in the charming historic district of the central Alabama town. Along with having new, original works to purchase and a selection of limited prints, attendees will also be able to watch the artist at work while painting plein aire during the festival.
“For years I marketed myself exclusively through galleries, which I continue having those relationships, but with the introduction to my sporting art themes, it’s presented us with opportunities to participate in some game fairs, festivals and SEWE in Charleston, South Carolina,” Walker explains, “This has given me more direct contact with my collector base and people who have expressed such encouraging comments about my work. So for me, I’ve never really spent much time in Wetumpka so it will be a fun trip.”
His commitment to his work shows, and he’s intentional about using these opportunities to connect with festival-goers and potential clients.
He adds, “For me, the real thrill is connecting with people and somehow creating an end product that creates an emotional connection for them. I do a lot of commission work, which has its challenges, but the one-on-one connection with a collector is very satisfying. For so many years selling exclusively through galleries, it was rare to actually know who the collector was.”
As far as a favorite subject or scene, he admits he really doesn’t have a particular favorite. “I’m pretty much across the board in subject matter, and I’m also enjoying learning how to adapt watercolor and gouache as a medium to my style of painting.”
But the real question remains: From where does he pull his motivation? And why the art of field sports and wildlife?
“This question is the easiest to answer. For me, it’s the memories this genre of work stirs up in me that I like best. I love the outdoors, fishing and, in earlier years, various forms of hunting. Mostly duck, quail, pheasant and dove. But I always loved the camaraderie with the other hunters or fishing buddies that resulted from those outings.”
No doubt he’ll be in good company at the Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival series happening intermittently through November 17, including the day-long signature festival on November 5.