On the Phoenix Commotion 'How We Build' page, you will see at the bottom page a list of some of his monographs. There is a lot of great information on this page, both inspirational as well as instructional. I asked Dan if I could reprint a blurb of his 'failures' pdf. essay and I got the thumbs up:
'But I’m still trying. If failure destroys you, you simply can’t do this. I think of failures as opportunities to try a new direction. Who knows how many objects hit Sir Isaac Newton on the head before the famous apple? It might have been a series of walnuts, or stones thrown by bullies picking on nerds, or sticks, and then, finally, an apple. And Benjamin Franklin almost failed when he ran a close brush with being electrocuted by flying a kite in a lightning storm. Christopher Columbus wanted to discover India, but didn’t. He discovered something yet a bit more interesting. If giants have failed, then it clears the way for us small guys to fail. Thanks, giants. I feel better.
But America is the place to try out anything you choose. And, indeed, anyone in America can do this. We don’t have to cave in to only what’s made available by the marketeers. We can strike out on our own, perhaps failing occasionally, but living the adventure. The giants did, and that’s what I want to do, too.'
I can appreciate this on so many more levels after having now moved here and seeing in person the work and hearing this visionary artist, Dan, explain more about his process. It has been a boon to me these last few weeks to have more freedom to try. As an artist I am always working with new materials in new ways. Desiring to make something out of reclaimed materials doesn't always turn out the way you hope or expect. Dan's homes, to me at least, are in and of themselves large art installations. They are an example of what anyone can do if they just decide to TRY! Not everyone has to build their own home out of reclaimed materials and not all reclaimed materials are what you might think they are. I've always thought of reclaimed as the lone found object or 'trash' that was already in the dump. Dan has woken me up to the fact that there is a plethora of materials out there that are destined for the landfill and we can all step in and nab them before all that time and energy is used for their final dumpage.
Think about it. Look around. What do you see? What are stores storing in the back room or near their dumpster? What items and materials do you think you want to work with for your own projects? Ask around! You have no idea what businesses have to pay to get RID of things that you could very well be getting for free. You could start small, make something functional or redo the kids room with materials that are truly unique! It's not about perfection, it's about the process of creating and allowing for failure and growth. I think they go hand in hand and if you are working with reclaimed 'trash' how can you lose?