Daniel Everett (b. 1980) is an artist and professor working across a broad range of media, including photography, video, sculpture, and installation. He received his MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. Daniel currently teaches at Brigham Young University as an assistant professor of New Media. His work had been exhibited widely in group exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States, and he has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (2010) and at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City (2012). Recent publications include a monograph, Standard Edition, published by Études (2012), and features in Blind Spot (2013), Foam Talent (2014), and Granta (2014).
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m an artist and professor. Overall, I guess I build a lot of images in photoshop. Sometimes they become prints in exhibitions, but usually they end up as jpegs floating around the internet being perpetually recontextualized by a sea of 16 year olds. I also work quite a bit in video, sculpture, and installation—and I’m interested in how all of these approaches can be made to interact with each other.
I was raised in Hudson, Ohio and I’m the seventh of eight children. Growing up, I spent a lot of time around computers and arcades and I think that has informed a lot of my work. In my adult years I’ve have moved around quite a bit, spending time in New York, Italy, Toronto, Chicago, and now Utah, where I live with my wife Michéle and our cat Poppy.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Teaching has been a big influence on me lately. At times it feels like trying to unbake a cake, but overall it has been really rewarding. It gives you a chance to scrutinize your opinions on art and figure out what actually matters to you. Also, good students transmit a lot of energy, especially when they are coming to contemporary art free of baggage and preconceived notions. Being around that helps remind you why you started making art in the first place.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? For the last year or so I have been working on an open-ended project called New Existence, exploring the ideals and aesthetics of progress. The title comes from analytics data linked to my website. When sorting through the search terms that ultimately brought people to my site, “New Existence” repeatedly came up. It felt like an appropriate encapsulation of the tone and motivations driving my work—the hope of a new life through technology and order, paired with a pervading sense of emptiness. A version of this project was recently featured in the Foam Magazine Talent Issue.
In addition to that, I’ve been developing a body of work dealing with architecture. Architecture has always played a significant role in my art, but up to now I haven’t addressed it directly. I’m particularly drawn to nondescript, somewhat anonymous architecture, and I’m interested in how it functions once removed from its specific location and purpose. In making this body of work, I’m attempting to sort through my own complicated relationship to order, which I find both alluring and alienating.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? I don’t know. My favorite drink is Melon Milk by Vitasoy, but it’s pretty hard to find these days. Maybe I’d like to be that.
What artists are you interested in right now? I spent this past July in Berlin and one show I kept going back to again and again was Anna Vogel at Sprueth Magers. Her approach and content feel largely unrelated to what I’m doing, but there was something so compelling and endearing to me about the work and layout of the exhibition.
Other than that, maybe Thomas Demand. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about his Dailies show since I saw it last fall. Also, I never get tired of looking at Anne Truitt’s work.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. I try to keep myself open to whatever occurs to me. I’m constantly writing and making lists—sometimes these are just inarticulate notes on a visual approach I’d like to explore, but other times they are fully thought out pieces. I put off making a lot of these ideas, usually because they don’t fully make sense to me yet, but as soon as a particular idea nags me enough I end up doing it whether I understand it or not.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? I want them to leave feeling like they understand less about the world than they did before seeing the work.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? Tokyo. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time there over the last four years. There is something immensely appealing both visually and culturally to me about Japan. During my last trip I was trying to describe to a Japanese friend why I’m so drawn to Tokyo—the best I could do was to explain to her how much I like being inside an MRI machine and that being in Tokyo as a foreigner felt like a somewhat equivalent experience.
What were you like in high school? Obnoxious. If I’m honest though, probably only slightly more obnoxious than I am now.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?
Uline– I don’t ever buy anything, but I love looking through the products pages. I think it’s some of the best sculpture and photography being made right now.
Arcade Otaku– I spend a lot of time reading about arcade games from the 1990s. A lot of time.
Tumblr– I started using Tumblr as a kind of online extension of my studio, but have mixed feelings about it’s value as a forum for art. At this point I’m pretty sure that the success of an art project is inversely related to the number of reblogs it gets.
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