Eye for Art: “Being an artist and growing up in Carroll” by Lyndi McNulty
kdayhoff AT carr DOT org.
“There is no better place to be an artist than Carroll County,” exclaimed Kevin Dayhoff of Westminster. “Lots of people have asked me what it is like to grow up an artist here. It’s great. Growing up in Carroll County you learn self-sufficiency, independent thinking and personal responsibility. You learn that the world doesn’t owe you a living because you are a writer and an artist,” he said.
“There is a great sense of artistic collaboration in Carroll County that comes from our agricultural heritage, such as when folks got together and did barn raising,” he said.
“I grew up an artist and a writer. My mom, my dad and my friends were very supportive. My father was a painter and a woodworking artist, creating both art and beautiful furniture out of wood, and mother is a culinary artist,” Dayhoff reflected.
“One of my earliest discoveries with art was drawing cartoons and caricatures. I used to sit in class and draw caricatures of the teachers. Even today, I continue to draw postcard size caricatures of daily events, vacations and people in the news. I make my own vacation ‘mail art’ postcards,” he said, laughing.
“‘Mail art’ opened up the world for me long before the internet. After almost two decades, I still have a collaborative mail art partner in Japan.”
Combination of talents
“My main preoccupations growing up were reading, art, writing short stories, and plants. I was very fortunate to put them all together and make a living. That is how I got into landscaping. After all, landscaping is a 3-D mixed media assemblage with plants,” Dayhoff said.
“I also learned that if I spent hours doing a collage I ended up with a storage problem. But, if I drew a landscape design and did a landscape collage with plants, I got paid for it.” In 1974 Dayhoff started a landscaping, designing and nursery business. That business also gave him time to do art and write.
Dayhoff’s work from the 1980s and 1990s included art created on copying machines, color experimentation, collaging and new technologies.
Since his first art show at the Theatre Project in Baltimore in 1981, Dayhoff has been exhibiting art, including mixed media collages, drawings, sculpture and photography.
“I have had a lifelong interest in color [and] spatial relationships putting together incongruent objects. In recent years I have expanded my use of technology to collage with a digital camera, a scanner and a computer. I was inspired by Sue Bloom, a McDaniel art professor, who uses computers to create art,” he said.
“The collages are about putting seemingly disparate items and qualities together to give them a new meaning and a new purpose,” Dayhoff explained. “A lot of the collages began to come off the page into a much more sculptural element as a result of the inspiration of Wasyl Palijezuk, a now retired art professor at McDaniel College.”
Dayhoff has taught art, horticultural and landscape design as an adjunct faculty member for Carroll Community College.
He has exhibited his art for the Carroll County Arts Council for the past two decades as well as at other venues.
“There are so many opportunities for art and culture to flourish in Westminster,” he said. “Capitalizing upon the successes of Common Ground on the Hill, the McDaniel and Carroll Community College Art community and the Carroll Arts Center Carroll, Westminster is the perfect place for art studios, art galleries and artists to live and work, especially on Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street.”
“Growing up an artist has always been an advantage in my life as it teaches you to be a collaborative and creative problem solver and think outside of the box,” Dayhoff said.
He can be contacted at
— Lyndi McNulty is owner of Gizmos Art in Westminster.
Art, Art – Eye for Art Lyndi McNulty Advocate, Dayhoff bio and disclosures