Keeping a respectful eye on the global plethoras of dänknéiss.
My professional practice as an artist/designer is influenced by my studies of mathematics and physics. Surface/volume efficiency and structural rigidity are two characteristics that nature has optimized within crystal lattices. In hopes of easing homelessness in poverty stricken nations, I am inspired to design low cost, high stability furniture, housing and related infrastructures that mimic the fractal designs expressed throughout these highly efficient crystal systems. I see math and art as valuable design tools, to be implemented in the much-needed reform of institutionalized systems of education and embodiment. I continuously develop my capabilities as a designer, entrepreneur, and researcher through my academic and professional pursuits.
2016 – MFA Graduate in Interdisciplinary Studies, NSCAD, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Relevant Coursework: Pedagogy, Sensorium Seminar, Research and Creation
2014 – BA in General Studies, New College: The Honors College of Florida, Sarasota, FL, USA.
Relevant Coursework: Calculus I, II, III. Physics I, II. Crystallography. Sculpture, and Advanced Sculpture.
2017 – SSHRC Connection Seminar: Materiality Matters: Struggles with Digital Technology and the (Em)bodi/i(ed). (03/06/17)
2017 – Science & Art Seminar: NSCAD & Nathan Wilson hosted Dr. Knoll (MSVU) and her B of Ed class for a collection of interactive presentations and workshops regarding the cross applications between science, art, and education. (01/26/17)
2015 – “Red Man” presentation, Cary Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition opening gala. (07/17/15)
2014 – “Quasi-Periodicity in Sculpture”, NCF Baccalaureate Defense (4/24/14)
2017 – “Strength in Numbers” Sculpture Commissioned by the State of Florida – Art in Public Spaces Grant: Heiser Natural Sciences Complex, Sarasota, FL
2016 – Kenny Doren Memorial Grant for Sound Art, Private Donors, Halifax, NS.
2015 – $1500 Exhibition Award, Provided by Cary Visual Art Inc. – “2015 Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition”, Cary, NC.
2014 – Commission Awarded by Fuzion Dance Artists Inc – “Close Quarters” performance at the Historic Asolo Repertory Theater, Sarasota, FL.
06/2017 “Strength in Numbers”, New College of FL Permanent Collection
04/2017 “Living Lattice II”, Waterfront Place Condominiums, Halifax, NS
07/2013 “Creeping Order”, Bridges Organization Travelling Collection, NL
02/2013 “Polar Drops”, Applied Physics Lab, New College of FL, Sarasota, FL
Performance and Installation Work
2017 – “The Voice of Thousands” Sculpture/Loudspeaker Installation at “Totally Wicked Music Festival 5”, Halifax, NS
2017 – “Breaking the Chain” Performance, ArtBar + Projects, Halifax, NS
2017 – “Growing The Square”: Residency and Installation, Port Loggia Gallery, Halifax NS
2015 – “Red Man” Sculpture Installation at the “IHeartRadio Festival”, Sarasota, FL
2014 – “Close Quarters” Performance in “Voices of Fuzion” Show, Asolo Repertory Theater, Sarasota FL
2014 – “Close Quarters” Residency, The Two Columns Gallery, Sarasota FL
2014 – Black Box Project: Living Lattice (two person installation), Art Center of Sarasota, Sarasota FL
2014 – “Decagon” Sculpture/Loudspeaker Installation at New College of FL Graduation, Sarasota, FL.
2017 – Ladder Training: MFA Showcase, Anna Leanowens Gallery, Halifax NS
2017 – Line, Form & Color, Art Center Sarasota, Sarasota FL
2017 – Crystallizing Craft, Anna Leanowens Gallery, Halifax NS
2016 – Mix Masters: MFA Showcase, Anna Leanowens Gallery, Halifax NS
2015 – SARTQ: Here and Now, State of the Arts Gallery, Sarasota FL
2015 – CVA’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Cary NC
2015 – Inaugural Exhibition, Galerie Dänknéiss, Sarasota FL
2015 – I’ll be the Judge, Art Center of Sarasota, Sarasota FL
2015 – Ringling Underground, Ringling Museum, Sarasota FL
2015 – Downside, Upside Down, Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, Sarasota FL
2014 – Parallel Universes, Art Center of Sarasota, Sarasota FL
01/2018: 05/2018 – Research and design services under Prof. Angela Henderson, NSCAD, Halifax, NS.
Projects include furniture and toy design
08/2017: 12/2017 – TA for “Intermediate Jewelry”, NSCAD 2017. Instructor: R. Hannon
01/2017: 05/2017 – TA for “Audio Explorations”, NSCAD 2017. Instructor: C. Leonard
07/2016: 12/2016 – TA for “Science of Sculpture”, NSCAD 2016. Instructor: T. Delva
06/2016: 10/2016 – Research Assistantship: “301 Barometer Falling” Project by Prof. David Clark, Halifax NS
05/2015: 02/2016 – Executive Director at Galerie Dänknéiss, Sarasota, FL
08/2013: 05/2014 – Sculpture Teaching Assistant at New College of FL
05/2011: 01/2014 – Lifeguard at New College of FL, Sarasota, FL
Founder & CEO
I have always been good at mathematics, and mathematics has always been good to me. Many of the reasons I love math have to do with my environment and exposures growing up. In particular I think my joy in math came as result of my difficulties with reading. My weakness with reading made life difficult and restricted my early childhood exposures and interests.
As a toddler, I attended a play-based, Piagetian daycare program. Walking there every day, my mom and I would walk by a beautiful fountain. We’d often stop to look at it, and my first declaration was that I wanted to be a fountain designer when I grew up. It was a little bit later that I discovered Mosaics, and refined my career plans, saying that I would be a “mosaic fountain designer.” I was also known, at my daycare, for my affection for sensory experience. I was always to be found in or around the sensory bin. My other favorite activities involved pattern recognition and manipulatives play. While I participated in the pre-reading activities, I was not drawn to them, despite my demonstrating what was described as well developed language skills.
When I was a kid, I never met many developmental milestones surrounding reading. For example, there’s a moment where a child typically begins to recognize the orientation of text on a page. From that point on, the child rotates upside down books although they cannot yet decipher the content. I acquired this ability very late and remember, “fake reading” well into 4th grade. I was able to “beat the test” when it was time for State and City Standardized Reading tests, depending on logic and my language skills, rather than reading skills. While the standardized test scores did not belie a reading problem, it was clear to me, my parents and my teachers, that there was a disconnect when it came to my reading comprehension. In 9th grade I underwent an educational evaluation to ascertain the root of my reading problems; it included a Vision evaluation by a developmental ophthalmologist. Doctors discovered short-range diplopia caused by impaired coordination between the two eyes. Diplopia or double vision interferes with my tracking when reading in particular. Tracking is the ability that allows one to leave the end of one line and begin at the start of the next. Depending on the size of words and line spacing on a page, the distortion that I experience in the transitional moment when I leave the end of a line is enough to completely lose me on a page. Interjecting this abstract problem makes it difficult to focus on or build narrative out of the content I am reading. I got glasses, but they began to widen the field of distortion and gave me headaches.
Growing up in New York City provided me with an immersive education in structural systems relating to architecture, class, culture, design, etc. NY itself is a city of fractal architecture. Gridded streets comprised of gridded cement squares, framing a gridded skyline. In retrospect I attribute much of my current creative vocabulary to forms I observed in public museums. I would lose myself in the “Gems and Minerals” exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in particular. It is no wonder that I grew up to study crystallography. More resonant than my observations on mathematical and architectural structures, living in NY made me aware of class. I grew up in a rent control co-op with my mom on 94th and Columbus. I attended three NYC Public Schools, 2 elementary and one Middle school, which while different in some ways, shared certain traits. All three of them were racially and socio-economically segregated; this was not by policy, but was a de facto truth. There was a minority of White, middle class kids in a larger school in which a large majority of students qualified for free school lunch. That is to say that they were economically disadvantaged. “The projects” began on 98th street and I walked to my public middle school every day on 109th street. Walking through predominantly lower income African American and Latino neighborhoods was scary for me. I got beat up a couple times, had my cell phone stolen, was robbed, etc, but transcending anything personal in these attacks, in these moments I was attune to the hate and rage that results from being marginalized.
When I imagined that these feelings were continuous and unending for many people I was motivated to look for ways to ease the socioeconomic inequities, which caused them. I think a big root of these inequities can be found in the systems of education.
In 2008 I began my undergraduate education at New College of Florida. The people I met and experiences I had while at college were hugely influential to my academic interests and personal growth. I studied economics, sculpture, math, physics, Spanish, and even a bit of dance. I branched out socially and academically for the first time and tried to experience as much as I could. During my explorations I was discouraged by an inability to visualize certain scientific systems at the foundation of my natural science coursework. My disconnection to visualization and spatial reasoning persisted, and I decided to take a gap year from school. During my break from college I worked as a laborer under a professional carpenter. When I returned to New College I realized that my work in construction had provided me with the scope and perspective to apply trigonometry and algebra to my natural science studies. With this gained perspective I was able to find new success and direction in my studies of physics and mathematics. I saw the interdisciplinary potential between the arts and sciences and found a way to educate myself in both disciplines through experiments in sculpture. As my studies became more interdisciplinary I naturally gravitated to areas of physics and mathematics that were geometrically correlative. I took sculpture on a whim, as an elective in the second year of my undergrad. I had not formally studied crystal structures, but given my strength with math I planned my work using geometry and recursion. Eventually, through the practice of mathematical rules, I built a crystal structure. This work was featured in a show, which was visited by a guest lecturer for the physics department at my school. He saw my sculpture, inquired inside the gallery, found me on campus, told me how “cool” my “truncated octahedron” was, and asked me to lunch. I had never heard those Greek words before so I googled them. Low and behold, I had built a polyhedron, a truncated octahedron, to be specific, by accident. What made me stay on the sculpture train was my love for the physicality of welding, woodworking and working with materials in general, along with my growing suspicion that I was not ready for the next academic steps for me in math and science, the formal study of quantum physics and differential equations. In pursuing sculpture, I found myself studying, investigating, and applying geometry and physics on a daily basis.
A branch of solid-state physics called crystallography influences my forms the most. I believe crystal systems expose the elegant duality of complexity and simplicity found throughout nature. Crystallography is an experimental science that explains atomic arrangements within solid metals, alloys, and minerals. These solid objects are held together by a tessellation of atoms, which rigidly maintain their structure through the forces of electromagnetism.
Mathematical systems exist independently of human presence and are embedded in our universe. Natural expressions of proportionality and symmetry are not dated to a particular time period and are not confined to or ascribed to a particular set of ideals, making them accessible to vast audiences throughout our planet’s development.
In June 2015 I founded Galerie Dankneiss, a multi-disciplinary showroom located in Towles Court, Sarasota. I structured my gallery as a collaborative workspace sourcing local professional artists as well as students from Ringling College of Art and Design, and New College of Florida. Our monthly exhibitions featured a broad range of artwork including ceramics, oil painting, graphic art, illustration, sculpture in the mediums of steel, wood, and cardboard, and aquarium design. I generated publicity through local journalistic outlets and funded my gallery for 9 months through donations and sales revenue. I greatly enjoy the process of working with artists and organizations, which possess a broad range of skill sets and perspectives, as I believe this method generates the most interesting and profitable ideas.
In May 2016 I was accepted to the Interdisciplinary MFA program at NSCAD in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While at NSCAD, Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand art’s legacy as an instrument of social, political and economic influence.
I hope that the interdisciplinary nature of my work will create opportunities for my research to be applied in the fields of science, technology and industry. Like the great Russian constructivist movement of the 1920’s I believe we have the tools and mandate to realize a utopic future where we educate not to fulfill a predestined role, but to push the limitations of each individual’s potential. Here we can all find joy and sustenance in our labor.