We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Wood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Being in the arts I think there is an element of risk because many of us grow up hearing to have a career in the arts is risky financially. So, in choosing to be an artist there is an element of risk. I think the career of being an artist is becoming much more practical, there are many more avenues an individual can pursue in being in the arts field. So, there has to be an element of faith in one’s self and the belief in one’s passion for the arts, and their commitment to their craft and role as an artist. I think an artist also has to be comfortable with taking risks in one’s work too. I had this discussion with a friend once in grad school and they would say you have to make a lot of undesirable work to eventually make appealing work. They were basically saying, do not be afraid of making mistakes, make lots of mistakes, explore your materials, see how they work, experiment, that’s how you can get more familiar with the different mediums, and clarify your artistic expression. You have to work through a lot of different ideas and be willing to take chances on your ideas. I agree with that, making that mark on a canvas or starting a sculpture is taking a risk, but if you don’t try you will never know what you could have made. Attending graduate school was also a risk, moving to another state, to New Mexico, a new environment and community for my MFA was a risk, but it was definitely worth it. I had lived in Tempe, since I was three, so moving away for Graduate School was a change, but it was a wonderful experience and definitely a land of enchantment. I believe you have to follow your passion and joy, but it is always good to have some practicality that is going along with it too.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Something unique about my work is that it combines wheel and sculptural work. So, it both functional and sculptural in its forms. I would say putting in the extra time is a very important aspect of being an artist. In graduate school, I knew the way I was choosing to work I was choosing to be more detailed in my work and that meant I would need to spend more time in the studio and I was okay with that. So, to make that work out, I made being in the studio more interactive, I would listen to podcasts, YouTube, listen to music, and watch movies while working. I liked listening to podcasts because I could be doing research for my thesis and learning more about my thesis ideas while making my artwork. Lessons I have learned is basically how to pace myself, get enough sleep, be specific in the time commitments that I choose because I only have a certain amount of time, but then utilize my time and not overcommit myself. I would say I really enjoy sharing my love of ceramics and art with others, my work is a lot about social relationships, social dynamics, and symbiotic relationships.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I was giving a best friend a tour around my city there would be a lot sights we would see. I would probably take them to Matt’s Big Breakfast first and then get coffee at Cartel in Tempe. I would definitely show them the downtown art scene and we would check out Third Fridays and get to see some art shows. I would take them for a hike around Papago Park and potentially check out Botanical Gardens. I would also go with them to the Phoenix Art Museum and the the Heard Museum as other art opportunities. We would check out some live music outside downtown and have dinner at Gallo Blanco or the Welcome Diner. There is so much to see in Phoenix, so it tough to see it all, but that would be a good start.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family have been supporters of my artwork, they have always believed in me. They enjoyed their careers, so they were very supportive of me choosing a job in an area that I really enjoyed. My brother helped me move to NM for graduate school, so that was very helpful as well. Friends and family have been very supportive over the years for my career. I had a very supportive ceramics professor in graduate school Amanda Jaffe as well as other NMSU Art Faculty that were inspiring and influential to my work including Craig Cully, Stephanie Taylor, Julia Barello, Rachel Stevens, Margaret Goehring, and Michelle Nishiguchi. Also, the ceramics professors at ASU Kurt Weiser, Susan Beiner, and Sam Chung during my undergraduate degree BFA had an influence on the forms I used, my appreciation of porcelain, love of colorful lush glazes, and mold making techniques. I also grew up with pottery in my childhood home, my uncle John was a potter in Marine County, CA, and I always enjoyed using his ware. It was very inspiring and so much more enjoyable to use than commercial wares. I was always interested in handmade and organic forms.
Instagram: daniellewoodart, daniellewoodceramics
Photos by Danielle Wood