Saturday, November 29, 2008

Art Space Talk: Daniel Oglander

Daniel Oglander’s interest in creating visual art was nurtured at a very early age. Oglander was born into a family of visual artists. His work involves meshing aspects of photography and painting together. Oglander derives most of his material from abandoned buildings. In a sense, he gives new life to the images he finds in books and magazines that have been disposed of-- the meaning is open to the interpretation of viewers. Of his work Daniel states, “I have all of these impulses when I work and I just do it. My process is chaotic and colorful. Usually a "clean" image of a human is transferred over the mess of color underneath. This is meant to represent the facade most people put forth, when inside there is a lot more going on.”
Brian Sherwin: Daniel, I understand that you are from a very artistic family-- in fact, you share a website with several of your family members. Can you tell us about that experience? For example, do you exhibit together?

Daniel Oglander: My family is very unique. Usually parents are "Normal" and the kids end up rebelling against the adults. I always thought my parents were cool. My brother and I embraced their ideals instead of rebelling; it worked out nicely for both parties. Eva, my mother, is a potter/graphic designer and the Rock of the family. My dad Gary is an abstract painter and a super cool dude. My younger brother Eric is a mixed media artist who is currently living in San Miguel, Mexico. The "Oglanders" are a team.
We live and create together on pretty much a daily basis. Almost every room in our house has been converted into "shared" studio space. My mother's pottery studio is the same place where my brother and I paint. The electric kiln is in the garage along with wood working tools metal scraps, fertilizer, bikes, and other random shit. The gas kiln is just outside the garage in the driveway. My dad's paintings are pretty big so he paints outside on the deck...when it's nice. If its raining He'll just pin a canvas to the wall and paint there.
On the occasions when we have exhibited together, our house turns into controlled chaos. But we make it work. It's kind of like a family of musicians performing together. But, A family of visual artist putting together a show is something different and special in it's own right.

BS: Can you go into further detail about the connection you have with your family as far as your artistic growth is concerned?

DO: Basically, I grew up in art school. There were always plenty of pencils, crayons, pastels, paint, clay, ink, string, glue, all of which ended up on the walls, couch, or even on my moms Chevy Nova...sorry mom. My creativity was nurtured every step of the way by my parents. After high school, I decided I wanted to go to a "real" art school. In six months I had dropped out. My parents were better teachers.
Oh, but they don't pull punches. I'll walk upstairs with a brand new painting I've just done, show it to my mom, and she'll say "It sucks"...but, here's why it sucks and this is what you should do. We are constantly bouncing ideas off of one another and learning new techniques. One of us will go to a workshop or class, come back, and teach the rest of us what we've learned. Our goal is to continually evolve and inspire each other as artists and as people. In case you were wondering, I love my family.

BS: Aside from your family… are you influenced by other specific artists? Tell us more about your influences…

DO: Hmmm. As far as other artist go, I've been looking at Jenny Seville. The Nurse series of Richard Prince. And De Kooning just for a few color ideas. What really influences me, though, is life in general: the random occurrences, happenings, discoveries, all of it. I derive most of my material from abandoned buildings. There is something about taking an image out of a book or magazine that someone left years ago and breathing new life into it.

BS: Now… about your specific body of work-- I noticed that you use pop culture references, but there is also a foreboding sense about your work. Tell us about the thoughts behind your art…

DO: My ideas are constantly changing. The one constant in my work is images of people. I've always been intrigued by human beings- our nature, why we do or don't do certain things, why we treat people of different classes, races or creeds in dissimilar ways. We all have layers. Each of us has parts of ourselves that shine through and other things that we like to keep in the shadows.

BS: So what are the social implications of your work? Do you strive to convey a specific message to viewers?

DO: When I sit down to do a painting my goal is not to broadcast my views in any particular way. If you can see something in my work, that's great. If you don't, well, then look at something else. I am extremely passionate about what I do. If you can find that message in my work then I've done my job.

BS: Would you say that you adhere to a certain philosophy as far as your work is concerned?

DO: Creating art is hard wired into my brain. I can't do anything else. I've been making art for as long as I can remember. My philosophy is enjoy every moment. Follow your bliss. Don't sweat the small stuff. I am genuinely happy almost all day -- minus the five minutes before I take that first sip of coffee.

BS: Can you give our readers some insight into your current work? What are you working on at this time?

DO: All of my art hinges on my ability to "discover" new material. I don't buy my images, they are all either from books found in abandon buildings or photos I've taken. I was recently in Mexico visiting my brother and his girlfriend. We decided to go for a walk through the town and stumbled upon an abandoned compound of buildings. Inside one of the buildings was an enormous pile of books, magazines, letters and pictures. I spent the next three days of my vacation sorting through this treasure trove...I found two dead rats one squirrel and enough material to last me a few years! I'm surprised I didn't get the Junta Virus from inhaling all that rat shit. Most of my new work will be centered around that new material found in mexico.

BS: What about exhibits? Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

DO: I am currently working on a piece for an exhibit at the Nashville airport. Each one of my family members has been given quite a large space to fill . I'm planning on doing a grid consisting of 60 or so small pieces to form one large image. Its the first time I've ever attempted such a large piece. The dimensions will be 20'x10'. I have to finish this piece before January 15. Kinda freaking out.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the goals that you have?

DO: Right now I'm just interested in making good paintings and having fun. If I end up getting some measure of success and respect that would be the cherry on top.
You can learn more about Daniel Oglander by visiting the following website-- Daniel is currently a member of the myartspace You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

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