AT: Born and raised in Humboldt County, among the Redwoods, this landscape seemingly impacts your work. How has it shaped you as an artist and inspired your pieces?
JD: I think the natural landscapes influences my work indirectly. I enjoy living in a place that is fresh and green with clean water and salty sea air. But I don't gain any direct inspiration from it. I have a pretty strong humanist bias and have always been more drawn and inspired by humanity and the things and systems we create. This place does allow me the space to engage when and how I want and sort of retreat into my studio for contemplation and deconstruction of ideas,
AT: Touching on your geometric wood panels, what is your favorite part of creating these works that (I think, personally) are so naturally aesthetically beautiful?
JD: My favorite part about creating these panels is that you're never done. I am pretty obsessed with variation and how changing one element can totally change the trajectory of an entire piece. For me, it's really a practice in minimalism of vocabulary. I am really only working with one angle. The interesting part to me is in enjoying the interplay of creating complexity with a single thing or finding stasis and enjoy the thing for what it is.
AT: I understand the wood is reclaimed. How do you go about choosing your pieces to work with? What is the process like for you in the creation of these works?
JD: The process involves a lot of discovery. It's all reclaimed wood and I'll start just cutting into pieces and finding some cool grain here or some interesting knots there. If I don't like a piece of wood, I'll just throw it in the green waste or use it for kindling for my fire.
There have never been a movement that does not include art. Even in recent political history, we can see that. We had Shepard Fairey's portrait of Obama. We had a well spring of art pop up for Bernie Sanders. We had a piece of uninspiring corporate trash logo from Hillary Clinton and I would argue that 45 pulled off a piece of performance act. When we see something beautiful, we have a sense of being compelled to stop, I personally have a sensation of my chest being pressed upon. It's in that moment, where we grasp the threads of transcendence. Either consciously or subconsciously, we are taken out of the mundane for a moment. That's where the concept of art is really exciting, dangerous, and revolutionary. We can quite literally stop someone dead in their tracks. We can cause people to imagine something different, something outside of their current reality. It's an invitation to follow those threads of transcendence into the depths of transcendence. Whether that's a deeper exploration of self, another or larger social issues or ideas.
What medium I choose to work in for these projects is really not a lot more than feels right. Whether that's making a wood piece, a painting, a video, mixed media, creating a zine, making stickers, or a t-shirt.
AT: What is something you would like to accomplish with your work in the future? Is there anything you are interested in exploring further?
JD: I am most intensely focused on creating revolutionary political movement. I am passionate about contributing to a society that honors and respects the needs and perspectives of the largest amount of people, not just the incredibly wealthy. That's what will inspire and push my art practice. That means taking on a variety of projects. From doing small group shows, to creating propaganda for causes or being the art director for an upcoming political run for a candidate that I believe in. The artist is perfectly situated for our times. In general, artists are looking towards the edges, trying to shine a light on the unseen or under represented, seeking the strange, the commons. That relationship and sensitivity to the nitty gritty, ugly world is a profoundly real force. We not are a thermometer of society, but we can be the thermostat.