Every year we like to acknowledge one person who has really pushed to bring arts to the forefront of our community. In 2014, it was Daniel Funkhouser who continually brought our attention back to the local art community, not only through his personal artistic endeavors, but also through his work with Scottsdale Public Art, leading us to declare him this year’s official Art Scene Queen!
Throughout the year, we saw pictures of Daniel assisting artists in the installations of public works and exhibitions. His official title with Scottsdale Public Art is “Collections and Exhibitions Assistant”. As assistant to the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Wendy Raisanen (who Funkhouser insists is the coolest boss he’s ever had), helps Raisanen “care for SPA’s collection and install artworks in our exhibitions spaces like the Scottsdale Library.” Additionally, as Funkhouser explains, “In the four and a half years I’ve been here, my job now includes installation coordination for many temporary projects – so I help install for short events like Canal Convergence and public installations up for less than a year, not so much permanent artworks like bronze sculptures.”
We asked Daniel to share some of his favorite projects he assisted on over the past year, he explained, “2014 was a great year with many awesome projects, but I have a sentimental spot for these three: Randy Walker’s Spring Crossing, James Marshall ‘s (aka Dalek) murals at SMoCA, and Roy Wasson Valle and Koryn Woodward Wasson’s Camp Dreamtree. All three were amazing projects with long installs – one to three weeks. It’s extra satisfying to see a project from the start to finish and hard not to feel a little possessive and personally attached after working on so much of it, even though I am just a resource for the artists’ design. Those extended installs also gave me plenty of time to interact and learn from the artists. It’s hard to describe how precious that time is! All were very generous people and are doing what I hope to be doing eventually: working as a full time artist on large projects.”
Beyond his work with other artists, Daniel’s own artwork captured our imaginations and led us to question the all-too ambiguous divide between art and life, if there is a divide to be drawn. Often, Daniel works with portraiture, specifically self-portraits, which convey a fearless journey of self-exploration. Funkhouser uses vibrant colors to achieve a sense of the nostalgia and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of kitsch.
When asked to describe some of the themes in his work, Funkhouser replied, “I draw a lot from my childhood, resulting in playful art filled with novelties. My themes diversely cross representations and expectations of sexuality, family, history, illness, and the disguises all humans wear when interacting. Gender is a major theme of late – it’s a piece of my identity I’ve been figuring out since I was a kid. I’m still coming to new understandings about it. Lately, I think about my art as a non-linear memoir. Not just my self-portraits, but the entire breadth.”
Follow him on instagram @funkhouserfever for a little more art in your everyday. We’re excited to follow along with Daniel Funkhouser’s adventures in art in 2015!