Dan Siney is a Vancouver based artist. We met in 1994 riding the bus. He went to the large "cool" public school that was nearby our tiny hippy private school. He got progressively more cool into our twenties, when he was about to make it big as a photographer and decided it was the pits and quit, turning more to drawing and painting.
Dan lives about a block away from our Vancouver studio, and we thought it would be fun to soup up some ubiquitous puffy jackets together. To us the puffy jacket is synonymous with comfort and functionality. In Vancouver, which can be a cold damp city in the winter, you sometimes have to choose between comfort and cool. We wanted to make something that you could wear, be cozy, turn heads and make you want to take a closer look.
The jackets were hand painted using a variety of paint, and also have hand made felted patches, that Dan worked on during lockdown. They were all sewn to the jacket by hand.
What is your relationship to Osei-Duro?
Maryanne and I met riding the bus in 1994. She and my wife Zoe are friends too. Zoe shoots film and video for Osei-Duro and makes beautiful work.
What do you do? How did you get started?
I’m an artist and support worker. I grew up making art and being tormented by adults. As an artist, I had a “career” after art school as a photographer. In the last few years I’ve returned to drawing and related things. I’ve been doing support work for almost 10 years. I’m trying to become self-employed doing both.
What do you love most about your work?
Right now, I love being in my studio and teaching art classes at an alternative high school I used to work at (made possible through a grant program called ArtStarts). And I love collaborating. I just finished projects with my friends Mark Delong and Hernan Kahs. One is a calendar full of doodles and jokes and the other is a slideshow of photos. I love drawing with people. I draw a lot with Zoe, Mark, the students and my nieces.
What are you working on now?
Finishing up this project with you, drawing cartoons, felting a rug and a hat and finishing some drawings/paintings on paper. I built a shelter on our deck out of garbagy stuff and started carving and painting the posts. Maryanne said I should make furniture. I like that idea and have been thinking about that too.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m inspired by my genius artist friends. I’m also inspired by the times we’re living in: people demanding that we see our situation for what it is, people pushing back. There’s so much opportunity to increase the overlap in our personal Venn diagrams of how we each see reality. I’m motivated to look at my own position closely, and to see it in relation to others’. Being straight, white and male is all I’ve ever known. (Although I’m pretty sure I have a trans streak in me, now that that’s been unveiled for us.)
Sometimes I’m unnerved by knowing I don’t understand someone else’s lived experience, or by realizing my reaction to something is racist. If I want to, it’s also not hard to find shared views or excitement with people who enrage me. Sometimes there’s the feeling of pressure to agree with my group on tough questions so I don’t get rejected... But those kinds of anxieties feel puny compared to the opportunities. We’re forcing ourselves through this and it reminds me of being forced to grow up. As a teenager I remember thinking reality was something very easy to understand and at the same time frustratingly stupid and harsh with me. That might not be something most of us would choose to relive, but at the same time we're sorry we did it. (I’m also inspired by the teenagers I work with– I think teenagers as much the wisest ‘children’ as they are the youngest ‘adults’.)
What advice do you have to offer someone who is just starting out?
Hate yourself and always do everything exactly right. Humiliation is a death from which you can never recover.
How does the city you live in influence your creativity?
Vancouver is a cultural vacuum so there’s a lot of space for us to fill.
Is there any music you’re loving right now?
Recommend something to us!
Native North America: compilation of folk, rock, and country and some traditional songs by Native people, 60’s - 80’s.