Coming from a family that has always encouraged and inspired him to tell stories through visual art, Daniel Graham began his career studying at the University of Florida in Printmaking and then earning a Masters Degree from the University of Georgia. He has been trained in printmaking and traditional furniture making.
Not only does Daniel Graham have a love for art, he also has a love for teaching it. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Art at Georgetown College located in Georgetown Kentucky. He teaches various classes such as Sculpture, Printmaking, 3D Design, Ceramics and Package Design and he loves helping his students prosper in their work.
Lexington Art League (LAL): Is there anything that inspired you to create “The Cleaving of Two Brothers from a Foreign Land”?
Daniel Graham (DG): Yes, the work is a translation of a biblical narrative into a contemporary context. The story is found in Genesis 14 and is the story of Abram and Melchizedek. It is a story of a man that leaves his country and meets two strangers in the desert. He shares a meal with one after taking the spoils of war from a town. This story although only a few sentences over the past year I have found myself extremely interested in this short encounter. This story has created a turning point in my approach towards the role of people in the larger Christian narrative.
LAL: How long did this piece take to create? How did you know when it was “finished”?
DG: The boats are quite a process to make; each one takes about 3 weeks. The pulleys are handmade as well. There are 5 boats in total in the entire work. So this in a way is a detail of a larger conversation. In terms of finished I think it is when I can walk into the gallery and have the feeling that the work belongs there and that it exists there naturally. I have always been inspired by the idea of the window washer. It is their job to not be seen. If you know they have been there they did not do a good job. I feel that applies to my work as well. If there is one thing that stands out or seems unnatural it is not finished.
LAL: What kind of research did you carry out for the conception of this piece?
DG: For me personally research in the traditional sense makes honest work seemed forced. I had never built boats or pulleys before and never dealt with gravity suspension. So there was a lot of experimentation and technical research in terms of construction and form.
LAL: What is your favorite thing about teaching art?
DG: I think my favorite thing about teaching art is seeing someone’s imagination and conceptual development transition from an internal existence into a physical one. Being apart of seeing students grow in their craft and artist development is a real honor.
LAL: What is the most important thing you want your students to take away from your classes?
DG: A way of seeing things differently. A way of reaching forward beyond what is comfortable into a place where they are not only challenged but are excited to take risks.
For more information about Graham’s work, head on over to his website http://jdgraham.net/