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Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1954, Tawes was that kid in the back of the classroom who was always caught drawing and getting into trouble for it, though whenever a teacher needed an illustration for a project, they would enlist the talent of Tawes. In seventh grade art class his teacher told Tawes there was nothing he could teach him, but to keep doing what he did and that’s what he would be graded on. In the ninth grade the same art teacher put Tawes in charge of the art room mural project.
After leaving high school, Tawes took a job in the art department of the Haydon Burns Library in Jacksonville, where he had the opportunity to create posters, graphics and helped to create a traveling puppet show. In the show he used his writing abilities, his talent for using different voices and also the art of making puppets.
By the mid 70’s, Tawes grew restless and decided to explore his talents in Hollywood, California. By day, Tawes worked as a tour guide of the stars homes, a limo driver, an actor at Knott’s Berry Farm and various jobs in advertising. At night, he was painting, doing standup comedy at the Comedy Store, the LA Improv as well as working in theatre, directing and acting, writing scripts, instructing modeling and acting at John Robert Powers Modeling School & Agency and working in feature films such as “Return Engagement” with Elizabeth Taylor, “Blind Ambition” with Martin Sheen and “Being There” with Peter Sellers. He also studied ballet to understand movement.
In 1987 Tawes was offered the opportunity to be the Caricature Artist at the Missouri Theme Park, “Silver Dollar City”. During his first year he became a recognizable artist and was invited to be a board member of the Branson Arts Council where he was a driving force for the implementation of “Arts in the Park” and the Waterfront Gallery, a cooperative for the local artists. By the early 90’s he was doing caricatures at the Roy Clark Theater, as well as creating caricatures of the Branson stars as they appeared on the national cable show called “Dino, With a Touch of Branson”. At this point Tawes decided to go into the deep woods to reevaluate his direction toward the future. How to combine all his talents into one objective? During the off season, Tawes set up a working studio and began painting full time. In the season of 1995 Tawes started showing his paintings and receiving commissions from many of the theater’s stars: Mel Tillis, Bobby Venton, John Davidson and others. Tawes was then signed up with Artistic Endeavors, Ltd. and began having his work shown in SoHo, NY, Atlantic City, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. By the year 2000 he was invited to become the First Pioneer Artist in the newly created Glasstown Arts District in Millville, New Jersey. Tawes is now maintaining a successful working art studio and is the House Artist in The Amethyst Gallery. Most of his time in the studio, between commissions and creating works for shows, Tawes is working on a new art form to create a new way to view the works of Tawes. Tawes is currently working on his show to introduce his new art form, “LEDism” to be presented to the public in March 2013. LEDism: The art of painting to the technology of light to create color transformation and movement.
Artist TAWES has discovered a new way to manipulate color on the canvas to create a new way to view art. “Most artists have painted how light plays upon the objects that are painted on to the canvas. What I have discovered is a way to paint that interacts with the light that shines on the canvas,” says TAWES. “In my artistic career over the past 30 years I have endeavored to achieve something new with my art, something that had not been seen before. All my life I have heard the term ‘There is nothing new under the Sun’, so I decided to look above the Sun and be open to the possibilities, and I have found it.” Now, with the new technologies in lighting and using the paints in innovative ways, the canvas is no longer static and movement may be created. With LEDism there is not just one painting on the canvas, there are 4, 5 or even 6 paintings on the same canvas!
Tawes achieved his position as a contemporary artist with dedication and exceptional creativity. Tawes' energetic body of work communicates a bold statement that has found favor with collectors throughout the United States and abroad.
In 1999 American icon LeRoy Neiman viewed Tawes' work and agreed 'his work shows direction and truth.”
From Ben’s Column – The Daily Journal
Millville artist Dennis Tawes should be on the invitation list of every high school class in Cumberland County. What the pioneer artist had to say while being interviewed by host Tony Surace on “Around The County Live’’ Tuesday should be heard by every man, woman and child in the world. He’s that tuned in to life.