Daniel BackmanOakland, CA
I envision the city around me as a continuously evolving collage. The urban fabric is in an unending process of transformation, shaped over time through layering, aggregation, erasure, cutting and splicing. It expands and contracts through a connective structure that allows disparate elements, characters and conditions to interact with one another. I incorporate these same processes of city-making into my art practice through a language of architectonic abstraction. The resultant collages are future urban landscapes - derived from the cities of my memory, experience and imagination.
Using the scraps, maps, magazines and memorabilia that I gather in my travels and accumulate in my studio, I dismantle then reassemble fragments of the city into new and unexpected relationships. The interlocking forms and surreal juxtapositions of my collages blur the boundaries between interior and exterior, organic and man-made, growth and decay, earth and sky. I avoid fixed points of view or scenic specificity, instead opting for fragmented perspectives, scalar distortions and impossible vistas. Above all, I strive for a sense of motion and depth that encourages the viewer to reexamine their own role as a participant in the creation of urban space.
In my recent series, I explore apocalyptic oil-drenched landscapes, the decay of the post-industrial city, the miracles of modern technology, and extra-terrestrial adventurism. These abstract - yet distinctly spatial - compositions are consistently rooted in the cities I have inhabited - from Boston to Philly to Oakland, and abroad to Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and beyond. However, these collages do not represent any singular place but rather the themes that have traveled with me throughout my growth as an artist, a designer, and a city-dweller.
I am an Artist, Designer and DJ living and working in Oakland. Trained as an architect, but a painter at heart, I have embraced collage as a medium which spans between these worlds. I began my career as a professional painter for Artists for Humanity, a non-profit art and design studio in Boston. My passion for exploring and envisioning urban environments sparked my interest in design. I studied architecture and art history at the University of Pennsylvania before relocating to the East Bay to pursue a Master of Architecture at UC Berkeley. Throughout my education and now in my career as a station designer for California's High Speed Rail project, I have continued push myself as a fine artist. As a result, my design process and my art practice are deeply intertwined, as I trade forms, themes and techniques across media.