Sunday, February 26, 2012

Danielle Feliciano - Book Artist

Nightsong - Digitally Printed, Graphite, Watercolor, Metal Powder

 Danielle Feliciano

 Altered Esthetics 
Featured Artist 
3/1/12 - 3/29/12
Opening Reception: 3/2/12   7pm-10pm
Artist Discussion Saturday 3/17 1pm - 3pm

Name: Danielle Feliciano
City/State: St Louis Park, MN
Twitter: @RightBrainBook

I hold a BFA in illustration from the Savannah College of art and Design and have practiced art making all of my life. I am currently pursuing a design MFA from the Minneapolis
College of Art and Design.

I have a fondness for collecting antiques, old books, and mysterious, discarded objects. A love of history and tradition inspires a classical, romantic style in my image making. My design aesthetic also takes root in traditional ideologies. My interest lies in preserving the technical skills and long held beliefs in both design and image making through reinvetion. I am both fascinated by science and captivated by religion and find that both practices play powerfully in my work. I have always faced duality in my life and find that many of my interests are counterpoint to one another. I love historical techniques such as gilding, and hand setting type but use digital printers and InDesign with equal reverence. I am an image maker with one hand in the past and one in the future. I am someone who strives to be passionate but meticulous, technically traditional and conceptually progressive.

Conditions of Content - Gilding on a raised base

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I'm currently working on a book about visual thinking called Unlocking the Right Brain. I've written, illustrated, and designed it myself. I'm in the process of printing it now using a combination of digital and letterpress techniques. It's one of the biggest projects I've ever undertaken on my own so it's been a bit daunting. I've also been working on synthesizing traditional media with digital media as a way of mixing old and new. It is part of my thesis work and will be on display in May. For now you can learn a bit more about it by going to the blog

This project has been a real technical and conceptual stepping stone for me because I designed it with an actual audience in mind. Much of my work is introspective and so my book works tell a personal story that doesn't necessarily need outside input. I try to make works that are beautiful but I've never felt compelled to make the work truly interactive in the way Unlocking the Right Brain will be.

Nakusa - Letterpress

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?

I believe art is the transcendence of craft. Where craft is the skillful execution of a particular medium, art springs to life when that medium is used to say something meaningful. 'Meaningful' content can be anything, it simply has to matter enough to the artist that they were compelled to give it physical form. The medium of letterpress is actually a prime example of my point. Fine printing is a craft, there is essentially a 'right' way to do it. Creating a crisp, perfectly inked print is a technical skill that anyone with some patience could learn. Letterpress only becomes art when the artist takes hold of the medium and imbues it with a part of themselves. 'Art' is the artifact of the artist in the object. It is that quality which can never be reproduced - the breath of love, aesthetic sensibility, and intent the artist breathes into the work.

Blind Love - Letterpress & Gold leaf

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

My first letterpress mentor Barry Moser told me something once (maybe twice) that I won't forget. He essentially said that we are swimming through life like fish in a river. We are going to hear so much and people are going to say so many things to try and teach us. What we chose to accept 'becomes blood and bone' and we'll just 'shit out the rest'. Sounds a bit funny, but it always helps me remember that we have the power to choose who we become as artists. We actively absorb the knowledge that will most benefit our practice. Sometimes something strikes us so powerfully it literally becomes a part of us - our blood and bone. What we reject simply returns to the river.

Antediluvian - Digitally Printed, Graphite & Ink

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

My work space is usually meticulously organized. I love to sort my materials into boxes and categories. I have so many plastic containers it's unnatural. If I didn't stay organized and make hundreds of sticky note lists I'd never get anything done. I'm actually a really efficient worker because of how orderly I keep things. Every project gets its own file and label so I never lose things. I know for many people this would be oppressive, but for me it's liberating and comforting. Books are such an undertaking that if you don't stay clean and neat you'll lose pages, or get glue dots all over the place.

My process is just as organized as my space. I make schedules, and gather tons of visual research before I even put pen to paper. I work in a lot of media and for each technique my process is a bit different. In any case I do a lot of prep work and then move into production with (hopefully) a smooth glide to the finish. With books you have to be thinking pretty far ahead. You need to consider the final format before you can really begin making anything. You have to think about things how to cut a sheet of paper down so you don't have waste, or how many yards of book cloth you'll need to order. There are so many things to consider, but in the end that's what makes it interesting because there are so many places to play with technique and express your aesthetic.

Image of workspace

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Chip Schilling

My letterpress mentor in town. Tons of really cool book work.

A fabulous letterpress studio. Try and hit one of their open houses and see all their wonderful presses!

A professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a thriving book arts practice.

An artist working in the fascinating field of Data Visualization.

Molly May

Her current project deals with inspiring social change through humor.

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

Well, I'd certainly take you Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art on one of their open studio nights. They always put up a fabulous event, and graciously open up their studios for everyone to see. To be honest, I'm really in love with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts They have such extensive collections, and for a free museum you really can't find anything better. I could visit the MIA a hundred times and always see something I missed the last time. As a bonus it's right next to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design There are usually quite a few shows going on at MCAD at any one time - a different one on each of the first three floors and usually a fourth in their back gallery (Gallery 148, which is curated by students). Northeast Minneapolis also has a lot of cool smaller galleries. If you keep an eye out there is always something to see in the twin cities.  

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

I like to cycle through artists at random and so I enjoy perusing Tumblr ( and just following links through other people's pages at random. In addition Kickstarter (, a mass funding site, is a great way to connect with ambitious artists and support projects that interest you or watch how they unfold. You can look for artists working locally or abroad and get connected within the community.

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

I do, I'm going to be the featured artist at Altered Esthetics for their Belles Lettres Exhibition on March 2nd, starting at 7pm. Altered Esthetics is one of this great little galleries in Northeast Minneapolis and you can find it at 1224 Quincy Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55413.

Also, this May I'll be part of MCAD's amazing thesis exhibition at the Northrup King Building on May 11th. Keep an eye out for it because we hope to make it  major event. Work will range from book arts and projection mapping to conceptual installation and animation. A bit of everything for every taste.

I'll be both of these events. Hope to see you there!

Danielle Feliciano

No comments: