interview: Dan Freeman

Dan Freeman’s The Underground Railroad is currently on display at La Pregunta. The following is an excerpt from an interview we conducted with the artist:

LA: Why did you want to leave the mistakes in your art uncorrected?

DF: The art pieces started off as pieces of paper that would go up on a wall in an auditorium. It wasn’t anything special. I used pastels because it gives the work a crayon-y feel. Markers can be too sharp sometimes, a little to clean, and that in turn leads to intimidation. I didn’t want to intimidate students. A lot of artists strive to create something complex or perfect and it evokes a response in the viewer that’s like “Wow, that’s hot. I’d never be able to do that.” I wanted to create something that seemed attainable to my students. In its quality, you can look at the work and see I put time in to it, but in the same sense a kid could look at it and say, “I can do that Mr. D. I can do that better than you”. If you look real close you might see pencil lines, little smudges that should have been erased or other little imperfections that most artists would not allow to remain there. I wanted my students to be able to say “I can do that”. That was the main thing I was trying to transmit through this art: You can do this. If you feel like you can do it, try, it doesn’t matter. It’s OK to fuck up. It’s OK to get some bumps and bruises. Nowadays, perfection is pushed on students so much they are afraid to mess up or make mistakes. The best way to learn is to earn a few scars. That’s one thing I try to do with my art. To say: Don’t worry about being perfect. If the love is there, if the passion is there, it will definitely show and resonate.


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