The Sketchbooks of Dean Monogenis

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday September 6, 2018

The DART Summer Invitational, Pimp Your Sketchbook, continues with Brooklyn-based artist Dean Monogenis, who is currently on the road with his sketchbook, in Greece. 

Traveling with a sketchbook is essential. I have found that what I can accomplish with a camera will take me only so far. In terms of compiling source material for my studio art, it is important to have a quick resource for trying out ideas in color and texture while on the road. I use a sketchbook in many different ways.

What I have arranged here is a group of works from two different sketchbooks. These particular images were all intended as preparatory drawings. In so being, these works really stay on the subject of architecture and landscape. But this is not always the case. For me a sketchbook is ultimately about free expression, a safe place to try out ideas. 

In my sketchbooks I often work in watercolor. The portability of the medium made sense when I began visiting Greece on a regular basis. I also wanted to stay with the brush when applying color to my ideas. It is the brush that brought me close to my studio work, allowing me the feel and range of detail I was used to.

My first watercolors were made from photos I had taken. This also linked me back to my studio practice. Though truly different as a medium, before long, I figured out how to get the effects and results I was looking for. The biggest issue is how you create light in watercolor. As a translucent medium, you start with the light and work toward darkening. Acrylic is much more forgiving. Color can be opaque and therefor the light can be added at the end. 


Sometimes it’s not possible to get too detailed or to work up an image in color. An idea needs to get out quicker than we can paint it. As an example, I also included a bare sketch in graphite. This was a loose idea I had for an updated “Tower of Babel.” These types of sketches are often my favorite works of any artist. Totally un-self-conscious, they are more an act of necessity than beauty. I particularly enjoy line and edge and nothing shows the artists hand better. 

Dean Monogenis (b. 1973, New York City, active Brooklyn, NY) was awarded The Residency at CCA Andratx, Mallorca, Spain, 2016 and 2012; FLOW.14, Randall’s Island Park Sculpture Commission, 2014; AIM (Artists In the Marketplace) Program, Bronx Museum, NY, 2013; Visiting Artist at Anderson Ranch Editions, Snowmass, Colorado in 2010; The Fountainhead Residency, Miami in 2010.

Solo exhibitions include: Galerie Xippas, Paris, Geneva, Montevideo and Athens; CCA Andratx Kunsthale, Mallorca, Spain; Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York City; The Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York City; and Stefan Stux Gallery, New York City.

Monogenis’ work has been included in notable group exhibitions at the Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint Etienne, France; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; Pavilion de l’Arsenal, Paris, France; The Bronx Museum, New York City; The Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Federal Reserve Board, Washington D.C.; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; The Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, Oregon; Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey; Annina Nosei Gallery, New York City; Robert Miller Gallery, New York City.

Monogenis’ work has been featured in print and image in the The New York Times, Electra, TimeOut New York, Artnet News, Artillery, The Art Newspaper, Wired, Interior Design, The Paris Review, Huffington Post, the New Yorker, The Brooklyn Rail, El Pais, Herald Tribune, Vogue, Glamour, New American Paintings and IdN Magazine.

He received his BFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Facebook: deanmonogenis



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