Briefly describe the work you do.
I try to keep my paintings in a state of transition- where the literal and abstract coexist in a precarious state. Piece by piece my work progresses through trial and error in which images are rearranged and consolidated. For me, the practice of painting acts as a personal investigation into the fractured and transitory state of existence. This investigation has for periods of time led to themes arising in the work, however, I’ve found it important that the paintings ultimately direct and resolve themselves as I try to restrain too many conscious choices.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
As an only child, I was forced into spending a lot of time alone growing up. I would often spend a lot of time investigating the house eager for some sort of discovery. As I began to become interested in art, I would find myself more and more in my mom’s office space where she worked as a interior designer. I remember sitting and flipping through her sample pattern books and closely studying the blueprint drawings on her desk. In the kitchen she had a David Hockney print of the painting Large Interior, Los Angeles which I stared at every morning while eating breakfast. I believe she is largely the influence that started my interest in the interior as a vehicle for my work.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I’m pretty traditional in my artistic practice as all of my work is done within my studio. Most of my breakthroughs come from sitting, looking at the paintings and scrolling through an archive of photos I’ve collected on my computer. I’ll sometimes visualize a solution to a painting while in the shower or in bed, but when put into practice often doesn’t work as well. I thrive on immediate adaptation.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Growing up my identity was tied to athletics. This changed in high school as I started making art in a more serious way, however I never thought I would pursue it in any meaningful way. Simply identifying myself as a professional artist is something I never envisioned.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I’m pretty regimented in my art making- perhaps a little too much. Morning is when mistakes happen, and so over the years I’ve pretty much given up trying to make art before 2pm. On my work days, I wait until after lunch, take an hour to digest and then start working until evening. I do find a certain clarity at night, but the bulk of my work shift is the afternoon.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My work has changed dramatically in the last 5 years. A few years ago I went into grad school a portrait artist and came out painting interiors with mostly no figures. Stylistically my work is still driven by my love of paint, movement and color… that much hasn’t changed much.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
One of my largest influences continues to be music. I find a lot of similarities in songs I listen to that informs the structure I desire in own paintings. I find bands are making many of the same decisions I do when trying to inform the abstract musical parts within the context of a song. Having to the opportunity to have solo shows gives me the ability to showcase the “album” equivalent of what I do. It puts less pressure on individual paintings and allows me more freedom of exploration.
I’ve also become interested in Eastern philosophy over the past few years. Meditation has helped slow down my mind which has a tendency to change directions too easily.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I suppose I might have become pursued music if not art, but I’ve pretty much been doing the same thing since college without any regrets. I teach as a monetary necessity, but I would quit if my selling my work became enough.
Daniel was born and raised in central Connecticut. After attending Ringling College of Art and Design he finished his degree at Central Connecticut State University and went on to complete his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut. He continues to shows in throughout North America and has gallery representation in New Haven.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.