SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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26 FEBRUARY 2019 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: When did you first realize that art was what you were born to do? Daniel Minter: I think it's been something that I always knew. It's always been part of my identity and view of myself. And I say that even before I knew what an artist was, or what it meant to be an artist. That is the type of role in life that I saw myself in. SA: What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? DM: The biggest influence is easily my family—from my mother, father, sisters, and brothers, because I feel like the way that I view the world was gained from my experi- ences there. And so that context is always important to me when I engage in other areas. It keeps me focused, it keeps me humble, and it keeps me honest. It helps me know to whom my work serves. SA: What is a typical workday like for you? DM: On a typical workday, I try to work on detailed things early in the morning, around 7:00 a.m. I begin my day by working on details and things that require concentration. Things that require solving. Visual things that require solving and thought. Towards the latter part of the day, if there are too many outside distractions, I try to work on things that require less thought and more body movement. More broad strokes. More types of the things that are done through intuition. Things that I don't have to think deeply about but mostly just respond to. SA: Do you have specific strategies, rituals, or routines that help you and/or generate ideas? DM: When solving something that is difficult or hard, I go back to whom the work is serving: What is the service part of the work? Who should this work benefit? What problems should this work solve? And then I try to use the types of things that give me the most pleasure in creating it. For instance, I try to use the tools that I enjoy working with most. I like to incorporate some elements of very detailed work that is concentrated and meditated at the same time and also some work that is larger and with more natural movement. And in bringing those things into the solution to the problem that I'm working on, I think I'm able to work within my strengths instead of forcing a solution that does not fit or serve me. SA: What is the role of your support community (assistants, art dealers, critics, journalists, etc.)? How do you develop this network of support? DM: It begins with colleagues. Having colleagues and people who work in a similar area to you—that gives you a com - munity, and that's a very important part of my support sys- tem. Those types of relationships, I always consider them to be lifelong. Those are the relationships that take you all the way to the end of your life. And then there are looser connections, which may be gallery-type connections or institutional-type connections that are also personal. I value personal relationships highly, whether they are as friends, or as work colleagues or business colleagues. Personal relation - ships, I feel, are important for people to truly understand my work, and a level of my work that I feel like they would miss if they did not consider me first as, not necessarily a friend, but a considerate person. That cultivates trust [and] those relationships last over time and distance. I feel like my network of friends and colleagues stretches across the country and the places where I've lived or worked. SA: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as an emerging artist? DM: One of the things I would tell my younger self is that the most important lessons you learn from people are the lessons that are not taught. So listen. SA: Could you tell us about the process of creating your incredibly powerful piece, A Distant Holla? DM: I try to use multiple mediums and things that require drawing, carving, painting, and making things. I primarily think of myself as a maker, and I try to use materials that are ready and at hand, more so than rarified materials. I pre - fer things that are easily accessible, and I prefer a narrative approach to the work—some type of a storytelling element within it. Some type of representation of the story within the pieces. I try to combine symbols to form a larger narrative. That is what A Distant Holla is. It is a combination of CONTINUED ON PAGE 46. DISCUSSION Introduce students to Daniel Minter's A Distant Holla (see centerspread). Ask them to spend several minutes looking carefully at the artwork, then discuss the following questions: • What different techniques and media do you see in this artwork? • What people, places, and objects do you see? • Do you feel a personal connection to parts of A Distant Holla ? Why might you feel connected? Break the class into small groups and ask them to discuss what stories might be told or referenced in A Distant Holla. After some discussion, ask each group to choose one story to share with the class, using evidence found in the artwork to support their interpretations. They might also cite historical events referenced in the artwork as part of their story. Each group should then present their story to the class. Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCES in-a-distant-holla

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