Daniel Everett is an artist currently living in Utah with his wife, son and two cats whose practice spans photography, video, sculpture and installation. His crisp and sleek way of working caught our eye for its surreal and almost hypnotic qualities. Daniel’s images appear as if documenting some unknown utopia – one that is always very, very clean.
“Photography is something I’ve done fairly obsessively since I was young,” he tells It’s Nice that, explaining how he has “always used it as a way of processing the world around me and trying to impose a sense of order upon it from a distance.” While in college, Daniel reluctantly became a business major out of a “misguided sense of practicality,” but hated it and so began taking art classes as a counterbalance. This meant that for someone who had been practicing photography for such a long time, calling what he was doing “an art” came to him slightly later in life.
Daniel’s photography poses questions surrounding its authenticity because of its almost hyper-realism. In actual fact his practice is largely split between studio-based projects – which are controlled and meticulously mapped out – and more intuitive work reacting to the landscape. “I spend a lot of time walking and reacting to the spaces I travel through,” he explains. In recent years, a hybrid of the two approaches has found its way into his work as he “modifies and builds onto images I have taken out in the world.”
The architectural images within Daniel’s portfolio are taken all over the world. Having spent quite a bit of time documenting Europe and Asia (in particular Japan), he often mixes images from different places. “I think I started doing that as a way of blurring the locations. I didn’t want my images to be about specific places, instead I wanted to focus on the way a space might feel,” he tells us.
It’s the consistency of Daniel’s aesthetic that is particularly impressive. “I want things to be flat, sterile and anonymous,” he explains – something that was described to him recently as an “operating room sense of lighting”. Although perhaps a subconscious choice to begin with, Daniel now exclusively shoots under fluorescent lights when inside and will only shoot outside when it’s overcast in order to achieve this look.
There is also conceptual consistency to his work, however. “It’s my experience that artists tend to make work about one thing,” says Daniel. For him, that thing is “a conflicted relationship to the ideals of order and progress and the strange emptiness that lies in its wake.” Fascinated by the promises of modernism, but also where these promises went wrong, his work constantly alternates between building order and actively undermining it.
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