Dan Bina is an artist living in Brooklyn, NY. He has lived in New York for 9 years with his wife, Katya Mezhibovskaya, a graphic designer and teacher. His work examines society’s cultural values by exploring desire, anxiety, politics, and commerce in the social and private realms. Painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture are his primary artistic expressions. Through these mediums he reforms source images, texts, and raw materials into objects infused with new meaning.
You’ve lived in the City for nearly a decade. How has your practice changed over time?
When I moved to NY, I was very interested in abstraction. Over time, my faith in the practice, and what it is able to communicate to a viewer, has changed. I do occasionally revisit some old themes, but I focus on images and text much more presently. I would not have been interested in text years ago. That’s a sign of growth, I think.
My work has gone through a number of transitions as I’ve lived here. After the economic collapse in ‘08, I decided an MFA wasn’t viable for me, so I got a union job as an art handler. A lot of my work focuses on commerce and desire, and I’ve always been drawn to labor and capitalism as themes.
Who (or what) influences your art?
I am influenced by what I see in the art auction market on a daily basis. Because I am so exposed, I often fixate on two competing value systems, the cultural and capital. Much of what I produce is derived from mid 20th century source materials: I look at the era from the 30’s through the late 60’s as an immense engine that proliferated images and ideas. I have a large physical and digital library to work from.
What excites and/or scares you about the art world today?
The flood of global art output is a good thing. I think it gives a sense of democratization in spite of the vast inequalities people face. There is a great deal of opacity in the arts with regard to power and wealth.
What artistic rule do you love to break?
I regularly centralize my compositions. Sometimes I don’t have the patience for anythng else, and the ideas don’t warrant anything sophisticated.
Name 3 books that changed your life.
- Critical Path, by R. Buckminster Fuller and Kiyoshi Kuromiya
- The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World, by Lewis Hyde
- A Coney Island of the Mind: Poems, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
What are some of your favorite tools to work with, and why? Don’t limit your definition of tools!
My tools vary to both digital and physical. I work with Photoshop a lot, It’s how I think. I enjoy holbein canvas pliers, they are worth the money. No.11 razor blades are essential. I use them all the time and change them frequently. The iphone is a mobile command center that changed the world. I love Instagram and Facebook. The Leatherman Wave tool is a device special to my heart. And a table saw should be everyone’s second best friend.
What have you been working on lately?
I’ve taken most of the summer off from art and focussed on some furniture design work as well as personal development. I’m looking to include new works this fall to the Indiewalls collection.
What’s your best advice for new artists, just starting out?
- Get a good day job.
- Work hard but not too hard.
- Know that networking is part of the work (I’m not the best at that part).
- Wherever you call home, get to know people in your community, they are your audience.
- School is a devastating insular bubble of academic posturing: Out here, nobody gives a damn.
Any social media links, profiles or websites you’d like to share?
@Danimalbina on Instagram