Thursday, 18 January 2007

Interview with Jason Daniels

Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A)Jason Daniels, male, age 26. I live in the UK. I graduated from University last year. I have a cat called Jehrico Mole and a small birth mark on my right thigh.
Q) How did you get started making art?
A)I had always had an interest in art and I had been drawing and making things since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until I was about 23 that I really accepted it as a genuine possibility. The art world had always seemed so inaccessible and alien to me; then in 2003 I won the regional award for undergraduate animator of the year for the Royal Television Society, and it challenged a lot of my assumptions and beliefs about my work and the art world. It was a very strange experience; I only entered it because my tutor (at the time I was on a foundation art course) wouldn’t stop bugging me about filling out the forms, the possibility that I would win it was impossible for me to consider. I think after that I realised that I knew nothing about my work or the art world, I had just been obsessively creating things with no consideration as to why or what I should be doing with my work, a lot of my stuff was just getting thrown away when I moved house or to make room for me to create more. For some reason that was the time I realised that I had to treat my work with respect and that being an artist was the thing for me.

Q) How would you describe your art?

A)A reaction to a system that I disagree with on almost every level.

Q)Who is your biggest influence, both art and non-art related

A)I really like the work of H.R. Giger, but I don’t think there is much indication in this in my work.

Q) How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?

A)It probably takes me about 3 days from pencil sketch to finished piece. If it’s an animation I am working on it takes a lot longer, for instance, the new project I am working on I am expecting to take about 6 months. There is so much involved in the production of a puppet animation, it is such a complex art-form and everything needs to be made from scratch for each film.Usually I just sit down with a pencil and lots of paper and see what comes out. I try to let the work control itself, I just keep working away at a piece until I feel it is finished. Usually I don’t have a plan as to what I want to produce, I have tried working like that but it just doesn’t happen for me.

Q) What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A)It has got to be a good pencil and some nice paper. Pencils are just so spontaneous and you can get results so quickly, I really like that about them.

Q) What is your favourite art related web site?

A)At the moment I would say it’s The Dave Cave ( ), Dave seems like a cool guy and we both started pushing our websites and work around the same time, so there’s a certain kinship I feel with that site.

Q)Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A)Almost all the work I produce goes through some stage on the computer. Photoshop is amazing, and I don’t feel like my work is finished until I have done a bit of work on them digitally. It is also a great way for me to keep my work in good condition, my house is very small and damp, if I had pictures or painting hanging around there is a good chance they would degrade in some way.

Q)What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

A)I am not sure there is a bad place to exhibit work. Even if your work ends up in a place that you think is completely unsuitable it’s going to affect people in some way, I think that is part of the reason people make art. So I guess everywhere possible is the best place to exhibit work.

Q) I'm always interested in where an artist finds their inspiration. Where do you find yours?

A)I am really not sure. Sometimes I take ideas from my dreams, sometimes an idea just pops into my head, and sometimes I just keep drawing until I produce something that I feel could be developed further.

Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)In general most people react positively.

Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)Playing with my cat, watching films, flicking shit at old people. Nothing too adventurous these days.

Q )What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A)Remaining positive about your work. From what I have experienced in the UK there is almost not encouragement for artists, or for anybody that wants to try and develop their work further. It really does feel like a war sometimes.

Q) Do you believe that a person is born with a talent to produce art or can anyone be taught?

A)I believe that anybody can be an artist. I am not sure I would say it even requires teaching or training. It takes commitment above anything.

Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A)I go through different phases, but generally the more recent something is the more I like it.

Q)What are some current/upcoming projects you are working on or excited about?

A)I am working on the illustrations for a book I have been working on with an American writer called Forrest Armstrong, I am not sure when it will be finished but it’s slowly coming together. There’s a “scrap book” that I am working on at the moment with contributions from some of my friends. It is a way of providing a home for all the work I produce that doesn’t belong anywhere. It’s going to be self published, and I have plans of doing a small run of special editions which will be finished off by hand.There’s a couple of book covers that I am working on and a CD cover for a small record label, it’s all pretty exciting really.

Q)What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A)Don’t back down. Imagine the life that you want to be living and do everything you can to make it a reality.

Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?
A)I have already mentioned H.R. Giger, he is one of my favourite artists. Theres loads of others: Francis Bacon, Chet Zar, Dave McKean, Jean-Marie Poumeyrol, Portizine, David Mack, Spike Milligan, Dave Cooper, Jan Svankmajer, Alec Empire, Christian Boltanski, Jehrico Mole, Hokusai, M.Gira, Nick Cave. I am sure I could think up more.I don’t really have a favourite gallery, I wish I had more time to check them out. It’s actually part of my plan for the year to visit the Giger Museum, but I guess that depends on how poor I remain.
Q) Do you need others to tell you they like it before you feel validated?

A)No, I don’t think so.

Q)Your contacts….E-mail…links

A)You can contact me via email:
Visit my website to see more of my work:
I have a myspace page:


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