Cultured Magazine

June/July 2015

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88 CULTURED NATURAL GEOMETRY Architecture, eBay and a few found objects led artist Dan Schneiger to a burgeoning design career. Now Lenny Kravitz and Peter Marino are taking notice. BY STEPHEN TREFFINGER PHOTO BY DAN SCHNEIGER "Most artists go to art supply stores. I go to construction sites," says Dan Schneiger, who is often found filling his trunk with wood scraps of all sizes and pieces of high-density foam, among other found objects he incorporates into his sculptural work. Although an architect by trade, Schneiger began to hone his creative talents a year-and-a-half ago, transitioning into a "full-time artist." His sculptures came out of hanging his architectural models on the wall of his studio, then in Minneapolis. Eventually, he started looking at them as abstract construction, taking on a life of their own. "I asked myself, 'What if I make things that look something like this, but that are complete in and of themselves?'" After creating a number of pieces for his home, the owner of Gallery 360 in Minnesota suggested he sell his work. Schneiger put them on eBay and Christopher Anthony Ltd., a gallery in Palm Springs, California, contacted him. His most current collection, for the home furnishings store Flair in New York, also discovered Schneiger online. The 29 pieces at Flair demonstrate a transition in Schneiger's work. "Ten years ago, it was all about platonic forms and geometry. My inspiration was coming from the man-made environment—building details, architecture." Now he is infatuated with material in the natural world—coral, barnacles, even crystals and minerals. "For the new pieces, rigid geometry becomes very organic. There's not a straight line in them," he says. Schneiger's process typically involves visualizing the finished piece before he begins making it. "By the time I'm using my hands, it's already complete in my head." In his earlier work, the raw materials were mostly cut and sawed. Now it's a lot more intimate. "I enjoy getting very physical with the material— breaking it, snapping it over my knee." Everything is coated with layers of high-density resin, sometimes mixed with gold, copper or bronze dust for an "almost metallic" finish. His fans include architect Peter Marino and Michael Bruno, founder of 1stdibs. Others have taken notice, as well. New York-based Kravitz Associates—owned by musician Lenny Kravitz— commissioned pieces for public spaces in Paramount Bay, one of its new high-rise condos in Miami. What's next? "There's a greater simplicity to my work now, and I'm sure the move to Miami influenced that. The spareness of the architecture that I appreciate here has caused a change in my work. Not to mention the abundance of construction sites." Crustacea II, 2015

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