As a non-objective painter, there's nothing that gets me salivating more than an amazing non-objective painting. The kind I could lose myself in for hours at a time. The kind like Daniel Calder's. But Daniel does more than paint...
Acrylic on Panel
36 x 36 inches
Q: Do you paint intuitively, with a hardcore plan, or somewhere in between?
A: The primary series of my paintings is built on a favored motif which was arrived at through conceptual and formal considerations. I deviate from this from time to time to pursue other trains of thought but never abandon it. The arrangement of the vertical forms in my work is a device for examining the relationship of individuals to a group or set. A grid or schematic serves as a starting point. From this beginning I work to blend presence with absence. I see the forms as alternating between part empty and part full with the structure of the overall composition varying accordingly. It is a metaphor for family, identity, and existence.
My work is motivated by my experiences with my sense of self and identity in the context of changing family knowledge (and revealed familial history) and the consideration of various ideas, both historic and personal about the nature of existence.
All art is about existence.
Q: Who is your biggest influence and why?
A: That’s a tough one – the influences of my work are rather slippery and varied. Though I try not to let another artist’s work dictate the look of mine there are many things and people that qualify as influences. Such as; the drama and contained energy of Gericault, the search for un-dogmatic profundity of Richard Dawkins, and the economy of Malevich.
Q: A lot of artists have that one piece in their studio that they would never ever sell. Tell us about yours.
A: I think I sold it. In any case, when I do a painting like that I resist the urge to keep it. I find that the memory of it serves me better than having it readily accessible. Sometimes the memory is better. The thing I treasure is the intellectual construct I crafted to allow these paintings to be possible.
“Thanks, I’m good,” says Daniel Calder, to drivers who paused at the intersection of Broad Street and Staples Mill Road last week. The rest of his audience whizzes by at about 40 miles per hour, blowing his hair, voice and sign in the wind. For two weeks, as a kind of performance art piece, Calder has ventured out to the intersection sporadically, usually around noon. In the middle of a 3-foot-wide median in one of Richmond’s busiest intersections, he holds a sign that says: “I don’t need anything. Thanks.”
Calder, 39, says he’s been an artist all his life. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a master’s degree in painting in 1990 and is a member of 1708 Gallery. Now he’s framing pictures while he’s in the midst of a career change. “It’s an interesting social experiment,” he says of his outings. Calder seems to be getting a lot of positive response. He says most people who see him give him a thumbs-up. “I get lots of waves,” he says. Still, Calder says, “many people can’t seem to get their heads around it.” He speculates that some people probably think he’s a jerk; others seem to be relieved that he’s not someone in need. “It’s the madness of art,” he says. “It’s not all explainable.” — Stephen Salpukas, Style WeeklyCheck out the video here, and see his paintings online at ArtQuiver. Thanks, Daniel, for the opportunity to learn more about you.