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New Video: Daniel Gordon Looks Back

How does an artist keep it interesting in the studio? In his Windsor Terrace workspace in Brooklyn, photographer Daniel Gordon reflects on his decade-long commitment to intensive practice and artistic invention. Gordon creates one of his signature “constructed tableau” works—exuberantly colorful still lifes meticulously collaged out of discarded pieces of paper, that are in turn photographed. Thinking back to his earliest student works, Gordon says, “Back then I was trying to figure out what my voice was and I was also just kind of learning how to make stuff physically . . . I think it became more interesting to show the crumpled paper and the handmade stuff.”

For me, the only way to do that is to try new things—to invent new ways of making pictures.

In the studio next door Gordon’s wife, sculptor Ruby Sky Stiler, shares a similar dedication to craft and experimentation, acknowledging the psychological difficulty of a day in, day out studio practice where inspiration is never a certainty. “I’ve been in a stage for a couple of months where I haven’t been able to figure out where I want to go. And you have to be delusional to keep coming back everyday to make more failures,” says Stiler. Back in Gordon’s studio, we see the results of his most recent push towards something new, an ingenious layering of abstract shapes that humorously reference a human portrait. “I think the real question is how can you continue to work and continue to be truly invested and truly interested in what you’re doing,” says the artist. “And, for me, the only way to do that is to try new things—to invent new ways of making pictures.”