Danielle Dean: 30 Under 35

Q&A | Dec 2016 | BY Maxwell Williams

Danielle Dean’s films may speak in the language of television soap operas and advertisements, but they end up providing clever critiques of culture sifted through her unique filter. She’s preparing to open a solo show in L.A. on January 22 at Commonwealth & Council.

Danielle Dean’s Training, 2014. Two-channel video, color, sound. Courtesy of artist.

What teacher did you learn the most from in school? Charles Gaines. He was my mentor at CalArts. He taught me how to make engaging, critical artwork.

How do you find inspiration? I like to read a lot of theory and history. But I also watch soap operas. I’m addicted to a soap opera made in England called EastEnders. The monologues that they have are just unbelievable.

Danielle Dean’s Training, 2014. Two-channel video, color, sound. Courtesy of artist.

If you could trade with anyone, who would it be? It would be Adrian Piper.

Do you have any unrealized projects? Some of them I’m working on now, and others will probably never be realized. I wrote a narrative for a show at Storm King in New York where I proposed that the sculptures in the park be flooded so that everything was underwater, and you’d have to swim down to see them from different perspectives.

How did you fund your first works? I made work using things that I bought from the 99 Cents store, and I made a video using a Flip camera. It didn’t really cost that much, so I funded it out of my own money.

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