We’re very excited this month to introduce you to our 2022 LEAP Winner, Danielle Attoe! Our annual LEAP (Lydon Emerging Artist Program) Award recognizes exceptional emerging talent in the contemporary craft field and provides opportunities for these early career artists to bring their artwork to the consumer market.
Danielle impressed the LEAP judges with the uniqueness of her work, which they described as powerful and beautifully executed.
Read more about Danielle and see photos of her award-winning work below!
There is something extremely satisfying about making a piece and then watching it leave you to go live in the world…
What is your artistic background?
I started taking art seriously in high school with a competition called the Visual Arts Classic. When I went to college I intended to become an archaeologist but couldn’t stay away from the art classes, so I switched to being a studio art major. I went on to receive my Bachelor of Fine Arts and my Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee in 2018 and 2021 respectively.
What are your favorite materials to work with/types of items to make?
I prefer working in Argentium silver which is just a particular alloy of sterling silver. I really enjoy making wearable objects like jewelry because they’ve been alluring to me for as long as I can remember. There is something extremely satisfying about making a piece and then watching it leave you to go live in the world and not be relegated to a wall or pedestal.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
I really enjoy the natural world and while it doesn’t fit into the figurative work that I’ve been making most recently it is absolutely a big influence on my enamel work.
What is your creative process like?
To make one piece out of the In the Flesh series I spend hours between my camera and computer photographing, editing, and tracing the models until I end up with a pose that I feel looks good as line art. Oftentimes I’ll find that a pose where I love the photo doesn’t translate well to a drawing without shadows or depth so I have to start over. I shape several dozen pieces of silver wire into the figure, using the drawing as a template, and the frame is made and polished up . I solder everything together, polish again, and add the patina. The best part is actually in the first step when I get to go take the photos with a model and spend an hour or so chit chatting and getting to know them a bit better as we work. Their individual personalities really shine through in the images we make!
What is the most rewarding thing about your practice?
I find the most rewarding thing is when my pieces are in a show or on display and someone tells me that my work makes them feel seen.
And what challenges do you face as an artist?
I face a lot of the quintessential artistic challenges like getting my work out there and making a steady living from it. I also find time management to be a real obstacle because it’s much harder when you don’t have an assignment or a manager checking in to make sure everything is getting done.
Outside of your practice, do you do any other creative activities/what are your interests?
I enjoy dabbling in other practices like printmaking. I also have a few 3D printers that I use for fun and in my practice. Outside of art and art related, I’m a bit of a geek and I have a weekly D&D game as well as playing Magic the Gathering.
What role does the artist have in society?
I think that artists can act as a mirror and reflection for society. They help lead and facilitate discussions about larger topics. However, I also think that producing art purely for aesthetics and appreciation without a deeper meaning is completely valid and gives viewers a chance to be lost for as long as they choose in a moment of rest in an unstable world.
What is art/craft to you?
It’s an outlet for my need to create.
Tell us about your favorite artist or artists that inspire you.
I love the work of Bernini, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Giuseppe Arcimboldo. I find a lot of inspiration from Jenny Saville and Daisy Collingridge and how their work relates to my own practice.
You can find Danielle on Instagram at @danielle.art.jewelry and online at danielleattoe.com. Danielle’s work will be available at our Store at 5645 Butler Street and online at contemporarycraftstore.com starting in February.
For more information on LEAP and the four finalists at https://contemporarycraft.org/store/leap-award.