Installation recently discovered the works of emerging artist Daniel Barreto on Tumblr. A freelance artist still pursuing an art degree, Barreto thrives by sharing his work on a dynamic, interactive platform. Barreto presents a diverse body of work that juxtaposes technology with traditional mediums.
Installation Magazine: The Photography Series of Profiles merges the urban landscape with portraiture. What is your process like?
Daniel Barreto: The series features images of young people in profile. I digitally manipulate the images, render the subjects translucent and superimpose cityscapes and beams of light onto their faces so that they appear almost holographic. These images project the interior psychology of the subjects onto the surface. In each, I tried to find just the right point of juxtaposition. Through most of my work, I’ve discovered that play has the greatest visual impact.
What influence do you feel that the environment has on a person?
The influence is profound. Of course there could be mundane moments when we are on “autopilot” but on an unconscious level we are always in conversation with the environment.
What was your intention with this body of work?
I aim to express complexity with simplicity.
Do you feel connected in any way to these subjects? You live in Boston, a dense urban area. How do you feel your environment influences your practice?
Tremendously. I’ve been living in Boston for a year and I grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. Both are dense urban areas. Sometimes, I have to escape and I visit my uncle in the woods in New Hampshire just to get some peace and quiet. I think what most inspires my creativity is this change from high to low population density.
With Giraffe Taking a Bath and Bears Fighting, wildlife is displaced as animals are presented in a habitat that is not native to their species.
I started this series two years ago. Most of the photographs were taken in desolated parts of the north of Mexico. The animals are depicted as larger than life-size within the environment. I have a great appreciation for nature and for animals and feel that their well-being is neglected and that they are generally underappreciated. With this series, I hope to convey my appreciation and to create something as visually engaging and as it is simple. As in the Photography Series of Profiles, I digitally manipulated the images, drew in the profile and distorted the contrast and perspective.
Where have you received your art education?
Briefly, I went to school in Guadalajara to study computer animation but quickly dropped out when I realized that I didn’t really want to pursue a career as an animator. I studied liberal arts in Houston before moving to Boston and enrolling in the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where I’m currently taking continuing education classes. I’ve been offered a scholarship to School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where I will transfer in the coming year.
What role does technology play in your work?
I grew up with technology and I have always been a self-starter when it comes to learning software. It intrigues me and I appreciate it as a tool and as an art form. I have heard people call digitally-rendered art “fake”; this is the same problem early photographers had, though the problem of photography seems to have been largely resolved. It is art. People often don’t understand the process. I still use traditional mediums, but the combination of both allows me to express a more powerful vision.
What methods do you employ in your work to engage the audience?
I don’t know if I’m totally conscious of those things until I complete the work or until I see the reaction from people. I guess that happens to a lot of artists. The viewer is free to interpret the work; as an artist, this is rewarding and fantastic.
Is there a particular reaction you hope to provoke?
My work is mostly noble and naïve, even childish. I hope to provoke inner curiosity. My work often deals with the interaction between humans and nature.
You post your work on Tumblr. Does Tumblr influence your practice?
I’ll admit it: yes, I think it does. Everything does, from the classes I take, to the art that I see, to the people I know.
Do you find that online exposure motivates you to create more work?
I do. I have this feeling of commitment to the viewers and to myself to not fall apart.
What medium did you first begin working in?
Simply paper and pen.
What medium do you feel best reflects your creative voice?
Black ink. That’s it. Sometimes white acrylic.
What direction would you like to see your work move toward?
I would like to work with the anatomy of the human figure.