We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Cheek and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Daniel, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Art is important. It is very hard to quantify how it is important and is so easily relegated to mere decoration or self-indulgence. Art appreciation is a long game and seems so unvital in times of hardship. It does not alleviate hunger or sickness, so seems like something we can push away for the short term. What art does though, is teach us about ourselves and our humanity. Art and craft puts on display the things and feelings that make us who we are at this time in history. Art teaches us who we are and what we value. I work as an artist and in the arts field because I am interested in what it means to be human in the world at this time in history. A career in the arts is a frustrating and humbling pursuit, but like most hard paths, an artistic career is life-affirming, intellectually stimulating, joyful, and culturally important.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My photography is almost always about the landscape or uses the landscape in metaphorical ways to talk about emotional issues happening in my own life. As a landscape photographer, it is important to me to record the outdoors as precisely and truthfully as possible, while using what is in front of the camera as stand-ins for emotions, thoughts, worries, and triumphs. It is an artist’s job to teach others what it means to be human and specifically, what your story is and how you are living in this specific time. I have been fascinated by photography since early high school and have not wanted to do anything else since. I have a BFA and an MFA in photography and have worked at photo studios and galleries for most of my life now. I am currently Director at Andrew Smith Gallery in Tucson and continue to make my own photographic art. Gallery work is satisfying by fulfilling other artists’ dreams in showing and selling their work. Connecting people to artwork that moves them is exciting. I love the challenge of putting together exhibitions that best highlights what a particular artist is pursuing.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The mix of exceptional natural beauty and historic cultural importance in Tucson is mind-blowing. Saguaro National Park East is very close to my home and it’s fun to take visitors to a national park so close to your home. I love the Cactus Forest Trail to the 19th century lime kilns, a perfect opportunity to show off the saguaros and see some interesting historic ruins. We also always take visitors to Sabino Canyon and Catalina State Park. The gallery I work at recently moved to a wonderful 1880s adobe building in Barrio Viejo in downtown Tucson next to Etherton Gallery’s new space. It’s fun to take people to see two world-class photography galleries in such a beautiful neighborhood. We share a parking lot with The Coronet and will take visitors to get a fancy cocktail after work.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife, Hailey, and son Emmett are constant sources of inspiration. My parents, Gregory and Jessica Cheek, have been exceptionally supportive.

Website: dancheek.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danielwcheek/

Image Credits
portrait by Hailey Cheek The rest are by Daniel Cheek

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