Daniel Denton - Artist Profile

1) Your work often has a sacred quality to it. Is this intentional? Are you consciously working for that quality or does it just somehow “happen”?

The term "sacred" has religious implications and I don't set out to make religious objects or generally use that kind of symbolism in any way. If that quality exists in my work then I have to think that it is only because it triggers something in the viewers subconscious. I think a lot of deeper meaning can be expressed through a form or arrangement of forms and I certainly take great care to be aware of the possibilities as I'm putting a piece together but generally speaking there is no conscious effort made on my part to imbue a piece with that kind of meaning or to make something with that specific goal in mind.

2) What inspires you?

I am reminded of a something I heard the poet Ann Carson say in an interview recently when she was asked basically the same question. She answered by saying, (paraphrase) "If your way of life is writing then anything can be a sentence". I love how casual that sentiment is and it certainly works that way in my "way of life". Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime so my job is to just be as aware as possible. The trick lies in editing the inspirations and then dissecting the one(s) you think are expandable to find out what really drew you to it or it to you.

3) How do sculptures begin? Do you start with one piece of stone, wood or metal and go from there or do you see the completed piece in your mind and then work to create it?

It depends on the piece. In a commissioned piece you automatically have a direction so that's kind of like a jump start. There are those rare times when I'll have an idea and just make it but it usually ends up a little weak because I haven't put the idea through all the mental and physical exercises. There is that cliche about a sculpture being inside a block of stone and the artist just has to remove everything that is not the sculpture to expose it, but that is not the way I work. Generally speaking, my work comes through careful consideration of materials and use of them for the essential qualities they possess.

4) What is it about mixing materials that is appealing to you? Do you have a favorite material?

I do like to mix materials when possible and I usually use stone, wood and metal. My primary medium is stone as it is the one I have the most experience with but it is often times not enough to express what I'm trying to express so I have to introduce another player. Materials are my color palette, texture pallette, light palette, weight palette, strength palette, form palette and on and on.

5) Do you work on several pieces at the same time?

Yes, I usually have two or three going at the same time.

6) You create sculpture and also functional pieces: tables, chairs, benches etc. What Is the difference in the creative process of making functional vs. nonfunctional work? Do you prefer one to the other?

Aside from the obvious distinctions there is no differentiation. It is all sculpture to me and the process is virtually the same and I love being able to do both.

7) Who are the artists that you admire? Would you say those artists also influence your work?

I came to art through architecture so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza and especially Peter Zumthor. As far as artists, early on I loved the work of Barbara Hepworth, Constantin Brancusi and of course Isamu Noguchi. Then I got into the work of the so called "minimalists" like Donald Judd, Robert Irwin, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, and Michael Heizer. I also love Maya Lin's work for existing between art and architecture and lately the Korean artist, Lee Ufan. The artist who influence my work the most is the lesser known but equally gifted, Rich Brothers. I was lucky enough to have a studio next to Rich's for a number of years, and I learned a lot from him and he drew the artist out of me.

8) Do you have an affinity for any particular period of art/culture/history?


9) What is the most rewarding aspect of being an artist? And conversely, what is the most difficult?

That's simple and the same answer applies to both: It's getting to express my true nature.    


Posted on October 26, 2016 .