Straddling the line between the modern, interconnected world and an earlier, humanistic, physically-motivated era, Brooklyn-based artist Dan Funderburgh's illustrations and printed works exemplify the beauty in crafted patterns and ornamentation. His art communicates an attachment to utilitarian design in an earnest and handsome manner that is at once timeless and futuristic. We chose his designs for the strength in their forms. Let us introduce you to Funderburgh's Three Pylons, which we believe best illustrates the sentiments behind the launch of FUTURE FORWARD. We interviewed the artist on his approach, work ethic, and inspiration so that you could get to know him better:
The Creators Project: Tell us about your creative process. How do you find inspiration for your pieces? Where do the ideas come from?
Dan Funderburgh: Most pieces are inspired by something beautiful I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or in an old book. When I try to recreate a design I've found at the museum it becomes reinterpreted and infused with whatever prosaic stuff is around me at the time. Also I didn't acknowledge it at first, but New York City finds its way into a lot of what I make. The old buildings and constant construction, and the constant mixing of styles and patterns.
Your art involves intricate and labor intensive patterns. How do you go about deciding between focusing on overall composition and still on the smallest of details?
I'm not sure I've ever addressed that consciously. I'm definitely guilty of becoming consumed in the fine details. Sometimes when I zoom out it looks like crap. I have to start over. I'll let you know if I ever figure it out.
Do you always work on several pieces at a time or do you concentrate on one from start to finish?
I work on all things all the time in the least efficient way possible. I don't know that I've ever finished anything. Even, like, an email.
Tell us about Three Pylons a bit. Where did the inspiration for the piece come from?
This piece is a fantasy proposal for a public works project. I would love to see pylons or cell towers embraced and turned into utilitarian sculptures. William Morris—one of my all time top favorite guys—spoke about the necessity of the craftsman to love their work. To take the joy and ownership of building something that might otherwise be manufactured generically.
The piece contains straight-lines and technical focus coupled with your beautifully organic patterns. Was that a conscious choice?
A lot of my work is based on the contrasting styles of ornament. The elements here are mostly from wrought iron gates or gothic architecture which seem like a good fit for transmission towers.
Click here to learn more about the artist.