Zyonji aka Simon Dahinten

Paintings and designs made with persistence and self determination.

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Sometimes you learn by being told what you already know.


I started painting this with the goal of having something I would care about even if I couldn’t show it to anyone else. I desired to find something I care about which is not dependent on having other people react to what I do. That’s why this painting doesn’t show off anything in particular. It exists as a window into my mind. It shows what my eyes linger on and my thoughts can’t let go off. I looked through the work of other artists to find things that bring me joy, even if I don’t know the story behind them. Strong contrasts between desaturated colors, inhuman but still relatable character, shiny metals and fabrics reacting to an outside force are a few examples. There are different forms of knowledge. Some things you can put in words, while other things are hidden from you when you try to tell others about them, even though you act as if you knew them all the time. It’s easy to tell if you like something once you see it, but it’s a difficult challenge to explain to others how they too can know what you like. I have never spent as much time on a single painting before. Over 50 hours of painting. It’s because it’s the most honest piece I’ve made up that point. I made sure that everything in it is something I care about being there. A window to wath I want to see and maybe an opportunity for others to find more to care about too.


Hidden appreciation in a quiet love.


This is the counterpart to the painting of the stag on the spoon. I made this one after the stag to show a different kind of reaction to the misalignment of appearance and intention. They’re a bengal tiger and a sambar deer respectively. Natural prey and predator. The tiger as an apex predator needs to care little about how others perceive him. That’s why I decided to give him the role of someone who retreats from the physical world to just pursue what he desires without confronting others. His posture and clothes are aimed to reflect his loss of motivation to take action. With headphones in the ears and eyes on the phone to shut the entire world out. What fills the rest of the canvas instead is a somewhat abstract representation of unfulfilled desires pursued in an online world. Fabrics that contrast well in behavior and material to the clothes the tiger wears. It aims to convey the experience of clinging to the simulation of a life to satiate the longing for a different life.


The first love of a tiger.


This is the counterpart to the painting of the tiger focused on his phone. I painted this one first, after my initial idea of having a painting with both together in one painting didn’t yield the results I desired. This slightly more abstract setting was inspired by the works of René Magritte. I didn’t push far into the surrealismus myself, but seeing his work was enough for me to finally give up on the dogmatic idea of having everything I paint be as realistic as possible. And this stag needed to not be restrained by a realistic surrounding. I made him look directly at the viewer and look alert, while sitting in a position indicating that he won’t flee. He challenges you to asses him.
 I put much consideration into this, even if it ended up a simple painting. I want him to have masculine antlers and a muscular build combined with clothes and posture clearly show that he’s not a masculine person, without it looking like a comedic dress up. It was important to me to show an example for how putting on clothes does not need to be about wanting to look like someone else.


A great freedom lies in the ability to speak your truth.

original:2018-12-02 - updated:2019-06-06

 This painting was originally made in an attempt to find a style that I could use to create something nice looking in a short time.  For this purpose I chose to paint a red panda wearing a qi lolita dress, because the general idea of that resonated with what I like to paint in general.  Only after I finished it 2018-12-02, I realized how much this painting revealed about myself, which then lead me to spend some more time on it.  The current version was finished 2019-06-06.

 I chose to have a red panda wear a dress in this painting, because I was interested if I could make that kind of clothing work on the anatomy of an animal and red pandas seemed a good option because they often stand on two legs, which means it’s easy to find good reference pictures.  The dress itself was based on designs I found compelling and was changed to fit the anatomy of the red panda naturally and have colors that complement it as well.

 I enjoy the creation of designs like this, because I dislike how mass produced modern fashion has no consideration for individuals.  The clothes you wear let you communicate with the world, they let you tell others on sight, what kind of person you want to be and how you desire to partake in this world.  Clothes in fashion may just express the size of your budget.  That’s why I will keep painting animal characters wearing unique dresses designed just for them.  I hope it will make others long for a wardrobe that speaks for them too.


A good mind is able to embrace a monster.


 I made this painting at a time when I wanted my paintings in general to reveal more myself.  The motive was inspired by my dreams where I saw myself doing things I wouldn’t want to do in the real world.  It’s an exploration of the difference between what a person is capable of doing and what the same person is willing to do.

 The most prominent feature of this painting are the shadowy creatures behind the hyena.  They’re meant to be a quiet bloodlust, restrained by a conscience.  All elements of the composition where created with this kind of duality in mind.  Even the shape of the whole scene is aimed to look like a white dove, that’s framed by darker rugged details.  The burning orbs are souls as I usually like to portray them.  One is floating above the head as the driving force of the mind caged by a golden halo.  The other in the hand as the own determination.

 This duality is aimed to present how I think that my nature should be incorporated in my personality.  Just like the title suggests, I think that even the most gruesome aspects don’t need to be banished.  The best possible outcome is when one is in control and doesn’t do what’s immoral, while you still possessing the ability to become a monster when it’s really necessary.  In other words, don’t fight your subconscious, instead convince it to fight for you.


What I fear most is for others yet unseen.

original:2018-06-18 - updated:2019-05-09

 This painting marks a big change for me to how I approach painting for myself.  I moved from trying to simply trying to capture beauty, to painting something that might be ugly to other in service of portraying something that has meaning to me.  This painting was first finished 2018-06-18, but I chose to revisit it after I gained more experience with painting.  The current version was finished 2019-05-09.

 For this scene I imagined a person partaking in an old ritual to become something supposedly beautiful and admirable.  To be adorned in jewelry and beautiful fabrics, but looking not conventionally pretty as you can see.  I found a deep desire to portray conflict between what someone wants to be themselves and what they choose to be out of a deep desire to aid others they love.

 There’s strong contrast between the the appearance of the hands and the face as symbols to emphasize the differences in action and perception.  A hand on the chain to show willingness to let outside forces be the guide, while the face is averted with the eyes closed to show a longing for something else.  This inner conflict is still something I want to show to more people.  I appreciate that you were willing to let me show it to you.
Zyonji aka Simon Dahinten