Daniel, tell us a little bit about you! How did you come to be an artist?
My work is generally experimental in nature, once I find a path I’m interested in the work moves into a kind of refinement stage where the experimenting ends and you have to rely on your formal training and how things work whether its in the darkroom or digital lab - the goal for me is the final piece.
Why did you choose a residency at CHAW?
As an artist it is nice to have the time to focus, work, and figure out what you want to do. I showed a piece at a group show held at CHAW back in 2012, and it felt like something to keep in your back pocket - a unique place in the city, actually in my own neighborhood, where there was a darkroom and space to spread your work out - and I wanted to come back to it.
The projects I’d been working on were starting to feel either forced, like I needed to make every trip to the studio have a return on the investment, or they were simply taking too long to complete. Having a place to experiment and be messy turned out to be a great reset on what I was doing and led to new work.
What was your initial proposal for this residency and how did your work change over the course of it?
Initially I came to CHAW to complete two bodies of work that I had been photographing for a few years, I had them envisioned and just wanted to get them done. One of them I did, and the other…well I abandoned it to be honest. That work branched into what I’ve done while at CHAW. I began culling images from the Library of Congress, another resource that was in my neighborhood that I’d only barely begun to explore. High res scans of original negatives taken here in DC, but in my view, tourist pictures; I’ve spent hours and hours looking at this city and how it has changed or hasn’t in some cases - mirroring the past decade that I’ve lived here and how I’ve experienced it. Making digital negatives I contact print them in the darkroom, then rather than fixing the images I’m letting them fade back to nothing. This makes the work performative for an install, but also lets a viewer experience the images like the real places — snapping a photo and moving on, experiencing something only to have it torn down or re-purposed, ultimately relegating itself only to memory.
What’s next for you now that the residency is coming to a close?
I’m pushing forward on a few projects that are non-photographic which I’ve left untouched since I began the residency. I’m working out a series of text-based paintings that are serving as studies for some works in neon that I’d like to execute later this year.