Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dan Schein - Artist Interview

You have an interesting up bring. Moved a lot in various locations around the world. Tell us about your family and travels.
I moved around quite a bit as a kid. I was born In Johannesburg, South Africa. Moved to Israel when I was five and stayed there for 3 years.
Then moved to Brook field Wisconsin, then ended up living out the remainder of my teens from age 11-18 in Staten Island New York.
You know sometimes people have to move where the jobs and opportunities are plentiful. Other personal family events caused these moves to occur.
You know then I went to College at SUNY Purchase to pursue a BFA while my parents finally settled in small town North Western Wisconsin. 

The last couple of years you were living in Philadelphia. Did this impact you work as a painter?

I think any place affects ones work. I definitely found lots of the "grit" of Philadelphia having an impact on my work.
Lots of greys and fences and dilapidated buildings. Some poverty stricken areas almost seemed like they were devastated by bombings, like those photos one sees
of ruined German cities in WW2 . Well maybe not as bad as that, but a place where lots of things have just been left to fall apart slowly, and seeing people live in places like that, making it their home.
I mean of course It wasn't a first hand experience , just things I saw and got my mind starting to associate.
Empty lots, houses stuck together like long trains on a street. ..and so on..

What were some of the central themes you were dealing with being a graduate student at Tyler School of Art?
Well in grad school I feel like I was trying to continue working on paintings. Simple as that. I haven't been painting for a long time(started seriously pursuing painting when I was junior in College) So it seemed like I was just getting the hang of things so to speak. I often worked with ideas of absurdity, every day life of specific people. For example this idea of the slaughterhouse. People killing animals for a living. They work like machines treating animals like machines. On one hand its all pretty horrific, but perhaps to that person, its his job you know. Something to keep him alive. Something that needs to be done as depressing and bleak as that is. I think many people strive for absurd goals. I mean one can analyze many things in life to the point of static meaningless. ..I think so at least.
I guess I wanted to create powerful imagery that's humanistic but also, cynical but not! if that makes any sense. . Not necessarily condemning acts but just trying to tell little stories with each painting. Like the Waitress painting, or the couple sexually pleasuring themselves in the backyard whilst BBQing and drinking, and in the background a dog is chained to this little pole.

Now that you have completed your Maters in Painting and currently an artist in residence at Stein Am Rhein Chretzeturm, Switzerland, what is caring through to these works and what has become less important.?
I feel like the same themes are carrying through. I don't necessarily think I have successfully dealt with any of these things I think about which is probably why I keep on thinking of the same things. I find recently being more concerned with weather. Weather in the paintings. I think this started in my last semester at Grad School, but im more conscious about the time of the day in the paintings, and how it affects light. Is it raining? did it just finish raining? Im also trying to be more specific with the figures in the paintings... but then again I could do a painting that doesn't adhere to these thoughts or concerns. Just trying to move forward with the work in a direction that I feel will make them stronger. Not really sure of the specifics on how that happens but when it does..I know when it does. Or I will know.

Tells us your daily routine in Switzerland, places you may pass by to go to the studio, where you eat at, who are walking by, what are in the streets, where you find your self at any given moment?

Wake up,
Drink Tea
Eat Cereal ..go paint..
go running
go for walks..
I am staying in a city owned house that has a studio on the ground floor. Stein Am Rhein is a historic town on the Rhein River. Its made up of old houses and cobble stone streets.
Gets rather touristy in the summers and there are many churches here with bell towers. Kind of feels like a fantasy town sometimes. Very Picturesque one might say. Many forest paths and farms surround the town. Cozy and rustic feel to the whole place.
Observe things...
On occasion ..go to cities like Zurich or Winterthur to the museums..I have yet to go to Basel or Bern.but will very shortly..
Also I have plans to go to German cities as well and see as much PAINTING I can. Already been to Stuttgart Museum.. ..

Who are you looking at right now?
Sometimes a dangerous thing. Sometimes very inspiring. 
This constantly changes by the way.

David Park
Eddie Martinez
Old Van Gogh
Rembrandt drawings
Kyle Staver
Over the top Fantasy Illustrations ..
Do you have any shows lined up, or projects in the future?

I have an upcoming show in Late February in Copenhagen. I don't have the exact details yet but will def let you know when that time comes.
Check back on my website.( danschein.com) Will post all the details there. 

Lastly, what is your greatest concern as an artist?
The Fear of waking up one day and not wanting to do it anymore.