We had the good fortune of connecting with Sydney Daniel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sydney, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk as a visual artist is tricky, you have to balance your financial situation over the reward of taking the risk. For example, I decided to go ahead and get my MFA at the University of Georgia. Attending and completing any graduate program is going to put you in a position where you are strained financially which is something to seriously consider as an emerging artist but the reward is huge. I was able to join an entirely new and otherwise unavailable community of artists, educators and curators. I developed my studio practice to an incredible degree and for all of these reasons it was a good decision for me and my career. Within my studio practice, I implement risk and chance as collaborators. Incorporating ink, water or expired instant film always guarantees the element of an uncontrolled possibility. I like to call them happy accidents. I think a lot of art is accidental but the true value is found in the response and process that led to the unpredictable outcome. Risk in art making is so important, if you’re being safe or timid to go outside of your comfort zone it will show in your work and you will never grow as an artist. To maintain a steady and successful studio practice you must dare to develop you work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My most recent body of work which I call ‘Hybrid-Polaroids’ can be described as large-scale works meant to be viewed in the round, derived from expired instant film, often with thread sewn into the surface, to explore our deceptive relationship with memory. I implement expired Polaroid film as a vehicle to represent degraded memories over time. My ‘Hybrid-Polaroids’ are bizarre and familiar simultaneously, figurative yet foggy. They lie somewhere between painting, photography and sculpture but don’t quite fall into any of those categories, hence the term hybrid. Some advice I would offer to anyone pursuing a career in the arts is to remember that the path of a creative is never easy. Constant rejection and competition are always going to be factors pushing back on you. The best lesson I have learned along the way is to be true to yourself and to your work. Never waiver or change your goals because of one person’s opinion. Take a little bit of everyone’s advice with a grain of salt. As cheesy as it sounds, no one gets to be you but you; your work is your own and no one can ever take that away from you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First off, I would definitely take anyone visiting Atlanta to Sun in My Belly, it is by far the best brunch spot in the city and always impresses. Mint Gallery, Whitespace Gallery and the High Museum would be top of my list to share a little bit of the art community. A walk around Oakland Cemetery, Piedmont Park or the Beltline are a must for an outdoor activity. For dinner, I would take them to Watchman’s in Krog Street Market, New York Prime in Buckhead and Victory Sandwich bar in Inman Park. I think each of these dinner spots provides a great example of the vastly different neighborhoods in Atlanta with both high end and casual dining experiences. For a night out, Estoria in Cabbagetown is always a good time as is, Mother on Edgewood and Elmyr in Little Five Points. As far an entertainment I would take them to a show at the Tabernacle downtown or at the Earl in East Atlanta Village.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia and The Ionion Center for the Arts and Culture (Kefalonia, Greece).