“My work is a direct reflection of who I am—my unconscious self. I discovered my
subconscious is friendly and my companion and in endless graphic adventure.”
Dan Friedlander has been working with clay for close to twenty years. “I discovered clay was an ideal way for me to express myself. It’s infinitely malleable. When I touch clay, forms emerge. I believe I have over 10,000 forms inside me. I do not create these forms. They already exist. I simply have to gently mine them from the subconscious to the light.”
To date, Dan he has mined over 5,000 unique and different forms. “I use my fingers because they are a direct connection to who I am and what is inside of me. If I used a tool it would create a barrier. It would impede the transition from unconscious into light”.
Dan’s art takes the form of incredibly detailed and varied tiles. “I have chosen to do this form because it corresponds to my personality. I use square tiles as a base because they are a fixed, form. My German-born mother nurtured this side of me. It reflects predictability and stability, which I have great respect for. It then combines the predictable tiles with the intriguing unpredictability of the forms. The result is an aesthetic and uplifting experience for all”
Dan is pioneering his sculptural and perceptional use of polymer “I haven’t invented anything. I’m just using it in a way no one else has done before.”
When he transitioned to polymer his medium changed but his internal process remained the same. “In my traditional clay days I used porcelain. Porcelain is a wonderful material but it shrinks, warps and cracks. Then it must be fired at 2,400 degrees, a time consuming, equipment intensive and energy laden process. But eliminating all these issues polymer allows me to focus on my art.”
“I used to devote 80% of my effort on the process, now I devote 80% toward my creativity. While polymer clay is not suitable for functional wear such as plates and cups it is ideal for my decorative inventions. Using polymer has liberated my creative and artistic juices.”
Dan believes that polymer clay is helping to democratize the art of ceramics. “It doesn’t require expensive equipment. Anyone can begin working the polymer clay and be creative. You don’t even need a lot of space.” Dan often sits at his computer desk and lets the forms emerge as he’s reading his email.
“Polymer clay is a giant step forward in terms of “green” art. It requires 75% less energy to produce than traditional clay. I have pioneered firing my works in a solar oven and even my car. The only requirement is getting the clay to 275 degrees for 20 minutes.”
For anyone who has seen Dan’s work, they cannot help but eagerly anticipate his mining of the next 5,000 forms inside his fertile subconscious.