DAN LAM

Untied States

Project Room Exhibit
June 17th – July 8th 2017

You never forget the first time you see Dan Lam’s work. It might be on your phone screen or in-person but either way, once in your brain, it never leaves.

You catch yourself wondering what exactly that neon blob was made out of? Are the spikes soft or hard? Can I hold it? Is it heavy? Is it plastic or rock? Will it melt? How long did it take to make? Are all those spikes applied by hand? Does it glow in the dark? Can I eat it? Did an alien make this?

The beauty of Dan’s work is that it forces you to think. Art that evokes mystery and intrigue results in a unique cerebral experience for every individual. When confronted with something otherworldly we typically create a narrative or apply an environment from which the artwork is created to better understand its existence. In this instance, there is no rhyme or reason – it exists to confound and elicit your imagination.

For this exhibit Dan has continued to experiment with new materials and concepts. In particular, she has been using a thermochromic paint that will change colors in relation to heat. The combination of organic shapes and vivid colors materializing on the surface creates a unique pattern reflective of its current environment. In many ways, these piece are living and breathing alongside you.

My work has always elicited pretty raw reactions from people, my favorite being the desire to touch the object, to make sense of it with another sense because just seeing it doesn’t satiate the curiosity. I like the tension that is created in that moment. This installation plays with and addresses more directly on that viewer experience. Most of the work in the show utilizes thermochromic paint, which changes colors based on temperature. While the viewers still can’t touch everything, the sculptures can be affected by just a person’s presence. With enough bodies, the work will change more drastically. There is a give and take with the viewer, these new works flirt with them and gives them a little more, but still doesn’t satisfy fully. – Dan Lam

b. 1988, Manila, Phillipines

Tell us a bit about your work, career, school, city, ideas, etc
I went to the University of North Texas for undergrad and Arizona State University for my Masters. North Texas because it was close to home and it’s a good art program, and ASU because of Arizona. My environment really influences my work. I currently live in Dallas, TX making art full time.

I think a common thread in my work is the pairing of opposing forces. Organic/inorganic, gross/beautiful, seductive/dangerous, soft/hard etc. The work deals a lot with ideas of beauty and what that means. Questioning aesthetics and the value of perceptions. I look to nature a lot for inspiration, but I purposefully keep any direct influences out. I don’t aim to create something that you’ve seen before. If I see how a river has eroded away a rock or how a stalagmite has formed, I take that information with me into the studio and then use my materials in a way that allow them to do their thing.

Many different materials and techniques go into your pieces – For this exhibit you are working with paint that changes color – Can you tell us more about that?
I pick materials based on my ideas. Polyurethane foam is not exactly controllable, I have to work with it and understand it, as well as gravity. Timing is crucial. Poly foam also has the apparent softness of the body, of fat.

Your work goes viral almost weekly, what is the best/oddest description you have read to describe your work?
Oh geez! The response is pretty varied, but I like them all, even if they’re “negative”. I’ve read cat tongue, butt plugs, dildos, a lot of people say they think it’s chocolate. I also get a good amount of people who think my work is 3D rendered, which is pretty interesting. I get A LOT of “what is it?” and “I get that it’s art, but why?” – which is such a bigger question, ha!

What is more important – Content or technique/equipment/etc?
That’s a tough question, I think you need both to make really great work. Personally, concepts and ideas drives my work, helps me pick my materials, but process also informs the work. I build off of what I learn in one piece and apply it to the next. In work that I enjoy looking at, it’s usually content that gets me. Technique and skill can be acquired, but I value a strong voice and uniqueness.

How many hours do your pieces generally take to complete?
I don’t measure the time it takes to make a piece. My process involves a lot of drying time, so I work on multiplies at a time. I can start and finish a piece in about 3 days, if I was only working on one thing. The spikes take the longest. I have rhinestone pieces that take weeks!

What are some of the oddest responses you hear in regards to your work?
I’ve had people get really angry about my work. Like they get worked up and will take the time to comment. I’ve even had a guy DM me just to tell me he hates my work and I should die. That’s crazy! But what’s kind of awesome is how much of a response it got out of him. I prefer that to “meh” or glancing at something and moving on.

What is currently influencing you that might surprise people?
I think psychology and human interaction influences a lot of my work, but it’s never direct and I don’t think most people would expect it.

Describe your work environment – Music, TV, Movies, things you drink/smoke, time of day etc
My studio is at my house, it’s the most productive set up for me. I like to listen to TV shows while I work, sometimes I listen to music or audio books. I’m fond of shows I’ve seen a lot before (such as It’s Always Sunny) so it acts more as background noise. I normally work at night, usually 6pm-3am. I do like to partake in some devil’s lettuce to get in the zone and I’ll take breaks for snacking and looking at Instagram. I work every day, some days I don’t get anything done physically, but I still spend time in the studio thinking.

If you could choose only one, would you rather be thought of as a great artist or a nice person?
Anyone can be nice, but only few can be remembered as a great artist.

SCULPTURES

GET TO
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 8.5 x 6.5 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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STIMULATE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 6.5 x 6 x 4.5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,000
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QUICKEN
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 8 x 7 x 6 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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MAKE AN IMPRESSION
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 8.5 x 8.5 x 7 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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STRIKE A CHORD
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 11.5 x 10.5 x 7 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,600
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ITCHING
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size:7.5 x 8.5 x 6 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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HANDLE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 6 x 6 x 4.5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,000
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RUB
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 6.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,000
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ADVANCE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 12 x 7 x 6 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,400
Availability: SOLD

SOFTEN
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 5 x 8 x 6 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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FEEL OUT
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 9 x 9.5 x 7.5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,800
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TUG
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 9 x 10.5 x 9 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,800
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FONDLE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 9 x 9 x 8 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,800
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INSPECT
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 4 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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TAP
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 4 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
Availability: SOLD

VERGE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, resin
Size: 9 x 12 x 9 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,800
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POKE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic
Size: 4.5 x 8.5 x 6.5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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FRISK
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic
Size: 5 x 7 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
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MASSAGE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, resin
Size: 13 x 11.5 x 12 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $2,000
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FURRY
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 9.5 x 9 x 8 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,800
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PALM
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 5 x 5.5 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,000
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STROKE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 17 x 13.5 x 6 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $2,200
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GRAZE
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 16.5 x 15 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $2,200
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BRUSH
Media: Polyurethane, acrylic, thermochromic paint, resin
Size: 14 x 13 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $2,200
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INNER LIGHT
Media: Polyurethane foam and acrylic
Size: 10 x 8 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,000
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SLINKY
Media: Polyurethane foam and acrylic
Size: 14.5 x 7 x 5 Inches
Year: 2017
Price: $1,200
Availability: SOLD