Meet a Maker: Dan DiCaprio

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The studio is excited to welcome Dan DiCaprio who will teach Wood Rings and Wire Inlay on October 8th and 9th. Dan is a visiting artist from Richmond, Va.  Read on to learn more about his work and be sure to reserve your spot in his class here!

SCC: How did you get into your craft? What are some places and people that helped you on your journey?

DD: I have an MFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University, that’s where I received most of my training. After that, I learned traditional goldsmithing on the job at Hoover and Strong. I think both of these experiences have shaped the way that I work and approach my designs in the studio. Working with Bob Ebendorf, Tim Lazure, Linda Darty and Mi-Sook Hur all influenced the way I think about contemporary jewelry. While living in Richmond I taught metals at Virginia Commonwealth University where I worked with Susie Ganch. She was also very influential to the way I taught and understood how to explain my practice to students.

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SCC:What does you material choice mean to you and your work? 

DD: I started working with wood when I wanted to create larger dimensional forms that could still be worn on the body. I was originally chasing hairlike textures on metal vessels and wanted to make these pieces wearable. By choosing wood I could still get these forms and textures but have it light enough to be worn.

SCC: Talk about your creative process and your concept development.

DD: My conceptual development evolves and adapts with each piece. I think of them as a continuous lineage of work, where designs are modified and reappear from one piece to another. I almost always start with sketches before cutting out from the blocks of wood, this helps me think through the construction before I start carving. Also, since I have limited studio time, sketching cuts through all of those ideas and eventually leads to a more interesting design.

SCC: What is something you are looking forward to? Where do you see your work going in the future?

DD: I’m really excited to explore these forms while incorporating different materials like gold leaf, paint, epoxy, metal and more. I want to try working with them at different scales and that means using different construction techniques that I still have to problem solve. That’s probably the most exciting part of art for me is the continuous redevelopment and exploration of ideas, techniques and materials. Doing residencies like the Penland Winter Residency with the Shared Concerns group also spurs development by getting new perspectives of my work. That’s hard to do when you work alone in your own studio space and is one of the biggest things I miss from being in graduate school.

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SCC: Do you have any advice for new artists? 

DD: I think that it’s important for developing artists to explore as much as possible while trying to find what it is that drives them. I remember the feeling as a student that I was unable to translate my ideas into physical objects. It took a long time to make work that I felt satisfied with and this feeling is still a motivating factor for me. If you continue to dedicate time to your studio practice and really care about what you make then I think this will be apparent in the work and to the people that see it.