Daniel Colen Biography - ArtLyst
Daniel Colen was born in 1979 in Leonia New Jersey. He received his B.F.A.in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001.
Colen works in New York City. His work consists of painted sculptures appropriating low-cultural ephemera, graffiti-inspired paintings of text executed in paint, and installations,drawing from mass media, environmental experience and sub-cultural language.
Colen’s work infuses a sense of magic in the under valued and ordinary. In Untitled (Vete Al Diablo), a graffitied boulder is fictionally transplanted from suburban wasteland. Towering as a henge-like monument, it immediately conjures images of teenage ritual, exuding a reliquary aura as degenerate totem. It is in fact made from papier mâché expertly faux finished to look like the real thing.
Colen creates a duplicity in the sculpture’s rough hewn appearance, elevating the overlooked and forsaken to a contemplative object of inspiring craftsmanship.
Colen’s Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash's Wall in the Future) is a life scale recreation of the interior of his friend’s apartment. Reconstructed from snapshot photos, every element has been meticulously crafted and exactly placed. Using the deceptive qualities of trompe l’oiel, each newspaper clipping, flyer, sticker, photograph, and hand-scrawled note has been deceptively rendered in paint. In duplicating this plebeian scene Colen imbues the collected ephemera of a person’s existence with a heightened drama, creating both an exacted portrait and a monument of wonder.In ‘Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors: My Friend Dash’s Wall in the Future’ (2004), Colen built an exact replica of a section of poster, photo and flyer-covered wall from friend Dash Snow's apartment. Each piece of visual material was hand-made and attached to a Styrofoam copy of the wall.
Colen also makes being an artist look like fun. He and his closest friends are a tight group of kids who mix frat-boy filth with artistic talent and insolent intelligence. Often featured in gritty and glossy magazines, a recent spread in W magazine shot by Bruce Weber positioned Colen and his closest comrades (the late artist Dash Snow) Ryan McGinley, Slater Bradley and actor Leo Fitzpatrick as inheritors of coveted memberships in their generation's down-town art scene.