The Wizard Of Barge – Dakota Cates by Jason Collins

pink black and yellow abstract painting

Dakota Cates, who is otherwise known as “The Wizard Of Barge,” is an artist who loves to paint whimsical and fantastical illustrations and art pieces. Cates’ artwork is said to explore the inner fantasies that many of us have yet can not release due to mundane everyday life. 

Cates was born in Houston, Texas, where he self-taught himself how to draw the punk fantasy cartoon style that gained him fame. 

How Dakota Cates Begin His Art Career

At an early age, The Wizard of Barge began honing his craft during high school as he was not good at learning or following the directions given. As a kid, he would often draw his favorite characters from cartoons or make up his own Pokemon

After graduating high school, Cates kept falling into trouble with the police and had no vision of his future. That is when he decided to take his creativity to the next level and try to do something with it. 

Juggling two jobs, the challenge of creating a name for himself was both challenging and rewarding. Cates stripped away all aspects that weren’t in his vision, and after three grueling years, he had successfully done it. Now, Cates is making a living from his goofy and whimsical artworks and lives in California.   

The Wizard of Barge’s Art Style

Cates’ art style can be described as the rejection of mainstream reality and, instead, embraces the weird and fantastical art style. The art style can be described as a punk/high school doodle vibe. The vibrant colors in the artwork’s stand out, similar to the striking and vivid colors used in pop art.

The topics of the artworks often contain a fantasy theme but with a twist. Cates’ art style can also be compared to the animated television show called Adventure Time as the style and colors are very similar. 

Some Of Dakota Cates’ Artwork

Cates specializes in making art prints, clothing prints, and even tarot cards that he sells on his Etsy store and his own online shop. This is how Cates was able to quit working a mainstream job and focus on his art career. They are also quite popular on Instagram @wizardofbarge. You can find some of their works to add to your house or workspace–below are some I found intriguing.

Come and Go Print 

The Come and Go Print shows a figure, likely a rogue or warrior sitting on top of a cliff with their back towards us. The energetic green and teal of the ground against the pinks of the background creates a strong contrast, making it the focal point. Again, the artwork draws inspiration from a fantasy genre, which can explore heavy themes, yet has a whimsical and childlike feel to it. There is no high detail or complicated brush strokes–instead the coruscating colors are the main interest. 

The Sphinxes’ Gate Print (The Neverending Story Series) 

The Sphinxes’ Gate Print (The Neverending Story Series), as the title states, this part of the Neverending universe. It depicts the two sphinxes guarding a gate that heroes must travel through. The colors of the sphinxes are slightly muted, yet it makes the brilliance of the other colors stand out even more. 

The stimulating colors, levity in themes, and novelty of Cates’ work is something to behold.

Jason Collins is a freelance writer, epicure, and lover of all things human expression. While he has not had the opportunity to go to the Louvre in-person he has taken more virtual tours than he would care to remember or mention. When he is not out getting lost somewhere in the desert of Nevada he spends most of his time with his two beagles Max and Sherry.

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