Along Came Edgar
Dan, you were born and raised in the suburbs of Rochester, NY, in 1979. How was your childhood?
My childhood was fairly typical. As you noted I grew up in a suburban neighborhood outside of Rochester, NY. I enjoyed drawing/painting, saturday morning cartoons, playing with toys, and using my imagination.
You attended Syracuse University, where you received a BFA in illustration. Did you develop your characters there or did you already have them when you got there?
My creatures have always existed... I would say they've evolved along with me. During my time at Syracuse I felt like they went into hibernation. I worked on perfecting technique and got away from pulling from my imagination in favor of a more realistic illustration style. A few years after graduating I was asked to participate in a gallery show. That opportunity gave me somewhat of a creative spark and from that moment forward the evolution of my world continued at a rapid rate.
“8″ Marks the Spot
There’s a wonderful dreamlike environments element in your paintings. How do the stories come to you, and when they do, do you find you write them down, sketch them out, or simply begin painting?
I don't really sketch, or keep a sketchbook in the traditional sense. I tend to create little thumbnail sketches, which can be found all around my studio. Some of these ideas evolve into paintings and others just float around in limbo. Although it may not look like it, my process is actually fairly organic in nature. I have a hard time sticking to a sketch or an original idea. My ideas begin to evolve as soon as paint hits the canvas.
The Persuasion of Penelope
Who are the characters based on?
They are not based on anyone in particular, however, they are a representation of the human condition.
Portrait of a Gentle Man
What’s the idea of space and time in your artwork?
My work is born of my dreams. Space and time are blurred and suspended in my artwork. I like the idea of not being able to pin down a specific time or place... it leaves much to the imagination!
The Weeping Tree
There’s a strong connection between human’s and nature’s relationships with each other, mixed with fantasy. Along Came Edgar seems to point out this message in an obvious way. Tell me about this approach.
In our world we are in somewhat of a struggle with nature. In my paintings I'm presenting a sort of reconciliation with nature... the creatures & beings in my paintings seem to be reconnecting with each other and the natural world around them. There is a great deal of discovery and new found hope within my paintings.
The titles of your paintings are descriptive. Do they come first and serve as your muse for what you paint?
I usually begin each painting with a general idea or phrase in my mind. Once the painting is complete, I will come up with the title.
What Comes Down, Must Go Up
Your artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the US and abroad. Where’s going to be your next exhibition? What about Italy?
Yes, I always enjoy the opportunity to show my art in a new city. My next exhibition will be held in Chicago and then I have a big solo show in Los Angeles. I've had the pleasure of showing my work in Italy (Rome) a couple of years back... I certainly hope to have an exhibition there again at some point in the future.
What did you do before you began showing your art in galleries?
I was a full time illustrator. I worked with clients in the editorial, publishing, and advertising world.
You have collaborated with several publications, design firms, advertising agencies, and publishing houses. Among your clients there are names such as WIRED, St. Louis Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Aspen Magazine, Village Voice Media, AOL Productions, 20th Century FOX, and VIZ Media. It seems that things are rockin’, huh? What are you working on next? More art? Collaboration?
Yes, I've certainly had the pleasure of working with some great clients. Currently I have a large collaboration in the works with artist's Nathan Spoor & Lola. I'm also in the process of working on putting out a limited edition toy. Aside from that, I'm always seeking out new and exciting projects!
The Moment Before Waking