K nown simply as “Manik” to most, Dalton got his nickname while digging through his mother’s record collection as a kid. Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 album Are You Experienced caught his eye, and the song “Manic Depression” altered his name forever. Born and raised in San Jose, Dalton describes his love for downtown: “Skaters, indie bands, hip-hop, punks—it was a very colorful underground scene. You could have one conversation with someone, and your ideas could spark

That kind of exponential spark has inspired Dalton’s most recent work. He explains, “During the pandemic, everything slowed down. That was my opportunity. I give it up to Francisco Ramirez, a friend and fellow artist. I would always start pieces and never finish them. It was great to see the process, but Francisco nudged me [with], ‘You should do a show. You should do more,’ got me to start painting backgrounds and framing pieces.”

As his nickname would suggest, Manik’s creative pursuits span multiple genres and disciplines. By day, Dalton is a craftsman, woodworking for his family business, Heritage Mill Work. He approaches his day job much like his art: “Definitely creative, but sometimes I am limited to what the client wants. I function as a manager, laborer, designer, quoter, sales, all of it.” Most of his art installations are framed in exotic wood, which he stains himself, explaining, “I am a builder, so I mixed the stains, and the frames are handmade with alder and poplar. If you don’t frame pieces with something nice, they lose some of
their impact.” 

Dalton’s artistic philosophy blends cultures of sight, sound, and spirituality. In his most recent work, he attempts to harness “something spontaneous, perfect, but perfect because it is organic. I came up with a concept called OCTMO, organic creations through mechanical operations. The perfect circle, a ray of light, waves, you see all of these things in nature.” Using his trade skills, he creates massive mechanical spinning turntables to spin his canvas. Once the mechanical processes are fabricated, he relies on meditative intentions, themes, and intuition to guide his painting. He explains, “I play really loud music, and most of the time, I start from the center. I like going with a theme when picking colors, but I also love seeing one color after the next pop, contrast, and move against the others. It never gets old. I try not to think about it too much. Just do.”

Meditation fuels the work Dalton calls “Circle Metaphysical”—his methodical practice of painting one circle after the next allows him the opportunity to zone in on the present. He explains, “Yeah, it’s hundreds of colors, but one hundred colors are nothing when you meditate.” Dalton hopes his introspective process is communicated to those who view his work, but he understands that each person will react differently, explaining, “It’s a vibe, a feeling. The colors are vibrations. Is it sucking you in, or is it blowing you out? I prefer to lightly focus on a piece and feel the pulse. If I am  in a bad mental state, I might feel differently about
all these colors.” 

When Dalton is not painting in his warehouse or working his day job, you can find him in the studio creating ambient new-wave music, producing reggae, or hosting a Sunday morning radio show on KKUP. Dalton is currently recording his own ambient music: “I have been working on a huge arsenal of sound for years. I want to do large, colorful installations of interactive art and music. Step on the ground, and it makes a noise. Sit on a rock, and it twinkles.” Dalton’s upcoming plans are to explore color theory, collaborate with small businesses, and paint murals. “I can’t spin a wall, so I will have to work backward in my process. There are a few different ways I have worked out. I think the bigger the circles, the bigger
the impact.”  


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