September 13, 2011
"Radiant Totem" by Damion Silver
Please give us a brief bio and description of your background as an artist.
I grew up in Connecticut and got into skateboarding when I was around 11. I always drew as a kid, was always into art and music. I took Intro To Design in IA Class in high school and that kind of set my path, screen printing shirts and selling them at contests and such. I started showing work in the early 90's in cafes and galleries, lots of photo work initially followed by more paintings.
What medium do you prefer to work in?
My latest work is collage and assemblage based, lots of found objects, paper goods and such. I mix my character totem-esq drawings in along with other words and doodles. I have been bringing back these faces I have been drawing forever. They are like little meditations on people and places. The work is always changing and evolving. I really enjoy working with a mixed bag of things. Old paper, spray paint, ball point pens, photo copy transfers, acrylics, then using some technology too. Laser etching and digital prints.
What's in your artists toolkit
A band saw, table saw, compound miter saw, wood glue, all kinds of paint, lots of found wood and signs, silk screens, boxes of paper, wood carving knives. My favorite new tool is a blow torch. Experimenting with that now. It's fun.
What's your work space like?
My space is now in the basement of my house. My wife says its a "man cave" but I like "studio."
Two large tables, full wood shop, screen printing turntable, piles of wood and records, empty beer bottles and lots of pieces in the works.
Can you walk us through your typical work day?
During the week I do the nine to five as a Design Director so that's alot of meetings, drawings and problem solving. After nine I get in the studio and work for a few hours. On the weekend it's me kicking it with my kid, hitting up flea markets in the good weather and when he naps I get in the studio and work. I guess I'm constantly trying to create things with my kid, at work or in the studio.
Who are some of your influences?
Artistically, Rauschenberg has always amazed me. Early 90's (Adam) Cost and Revs in NYC, and Dondi White. His work is just timeless.
Personally it would be my grandfather. He was the most influential person in my life. He was not an artist or anything. Just a solid guy. I still try to rise up and be like him. Miss ya Gramps!
Does music influence your work? If so, what are some of your favorites?
Oh for sure. It feeds the creative process. I have been blindly buying records as of late. Some new good stuff I've been listening to has been Mahavishnu Orchestra, Buddy Miles and Santana, Richard Pryor, Shuggie Otis. Hendrix will always be at the top. It all depends on the mood. Some Classic BDP, Primus, Iron Maiden. Lots of new metal like Priestess, Witch, Electric Wizard. I'm all over the place musically.
What would your dream project be?
A big public installation using objects and iconography from the surrounding area for a park or maybe a museum courtyard. That would be a great project, leaving something behind that outlasts me.
Finally, what advice would you give to a young artist?
Stay the course, have fun, experiment. Don't let people tell you what your work needs to be like, just do what feels good. If you are looking to show work in galleries find spaces where you respect the artists they show and reach out to them.