another year in LA
Daniel J. Kaufman
Daniel J. Kaufman: Biography for the Dictionary of Abstract Painting
Daniel J. Kaufman (b. New York City, May 4th, 1949) Childhood in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. Youngest of three boys (Brother David, a physician, oldest brother Kenneth an engineer). Son of Ruth and Matthew Kaufman (mother a writer, creator of Batman's sidekick Robin, father a suburban orthodontist and math genius). Studied photography, composition, Japanese Art, Art Theory and Art History at Amherst College, Smith College, the University of Rochester and at the Carpenter center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. BA with Honors in Fine Arts from Amherst College, 1973 (originally Class of '71, but left after sophomore year on approved leave of absence to study the Transcendental Meditation technique with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Spain, Italy and Switzerland). Became a Transcendental Meditation initiator in 1972 and returned to Amherst College and then to Rochester, New York to teach TM and pursue large format photography with William Giles. Personal apprenticeships and workshops with Minor White, George Tice and Paul Caponigro, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1973-1975). Worked as a travel photographer for tourist boards and magazines, including National Geographic and Life, and tested new films in exotic locations for Polaroid Corporation (1973-1978). First artist in any medium to be awarded the Fulbright Fellowship administered by the Department of State to photograph for the academic year '77-'78 in Ireland. Book of Kaufman's color photographs IRELAND: PRESENCES published by St. Martin's Press in 1980. Solo exhibition of his photographs at the International Center of Photography in New York City in 1981. Museum Director Cornell Capa writes of Kaufman's photographs: "This is the kind of work that restores one's faith in the alchemy of photography. Here is the fusion of mechanical and chemical tools with the spirituality and individuality of vision". Numerous photography gallery and art gallery exhibitions followed Daniel's museum show, and he continued to enjoy success as a travel and tourist board photographer with articles about his work in national magazines (Popular Photography, May, 1979).
Called by the Art Muse while visiting the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, Christmas, 1982, Daniel decides to move from Cambridge to Los Angeles and become what his art teacher calls an "Inner Artist". Apprentices with internationally exhibited "artist of the unconscious" Max Shertz (www.artistusa2002.com) for more than a year (1984). Enabled to paint full time for nearly two years by a gift from his friend since Transcendental Meditation days, software mogul Mitchell Kapor (Founder of Lotus Development Corporation, and known as the "Thomas Jefferson of Cyberspace"), Daniel discovers his own unconscious in a series of surrealist abstract oil pastels and gouache paintings which change his life (1984-1985). Marries Gina Ficarotta, 1985. Creates larger paintings on masonite, canvas and wood with oil and water-based enamel paints, and with fiber reactive dyes. Daughter Anastasia Sara born December 15th, 1988. First solo exhibition of his paintings at Gallery 5, Santa Monica, California in December 1990, exactly eight years after first strong desire to paint at the Fogg Art Museum. Discovers encaustic art using his daughter's Crayola crayons, melting them with spatulas on an electric stove (1991). Divorced from Gina (1992). Develops and perfects techniques for melting crayons onto wood, canvas, masonite and fired clay tiles using irons, heat guns, torches and spatulas. (1992-2004). Writes ten picture books for young children (1993-'94). Creates dozens of welded metal sculptures from found metal objects removed from the incinerated homes of the 1994 Malibu fires. Metal sculptures exhibited at the Roberts Art Gallery, the oldest art gallery in Santa Monica, California (1994). Continues to create wax paintings using mostly Crayola crayon products. Commissioned by Expression Magazine to write article entitled "Crayons Rediscovered" (2003). Receives 10,000 unlabelled white crayons as a gift from the Crayola Corporation through Stephen Dashe, Manager, Inventor Relations and External Innovation (February 2004). Uses 3,500 of these white crayons plus Color Slicks, Pearl Brites, Neon and Metallic crayons supplied by Crayola to create a breakthrough "signature" series of twenty 48" x 36" cradled masonite panels in two weeks entitled "God Of Flowers, Physics and Chemistry" at the challenge of Bill Lowe, Director of the Lowe Galleries in Santa Monica, California and Atlanta, Georgia (June, 2004)
In the words of Robert Levy, prominent Los Angeles art appraiser, "Kaufman's work is original, unique, with a jeweler's delight in detail and a simultaneously macrocosmic effect that makes his best pieces enjoyable from a distance or very close up". Museum curator Michael Zakian (of the Palm Springs Desert Museum and the Frederick Weisman Museum in Malibu) compares Daniel's work to the American surrealists Knud Merrild and Boris Margo.
Daniel Kaufman is also the author of six published non-fiction books (1978-1994).
Many of his wax paintings, photographs, watercolors, gouache works on paper and sculptures may be seen at:
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In my art and in my life I have sought to cast a bridge between outside and inside, and between the finite and the infinite. I have struggled as an artist and as a man with ego, with rebelliousness, with compulsion and with fear. I no longer feel that art is separate from life. My life now is an attempt to probe and to test the boundaries between life and art. My limitations as a man are the same limitations I have as an artist. I want my life to be a continuous and infinitely varied repetition of the question “What is Art?
I seek only freedom in art and in life. I do not seek a style. Style, like imagination and technique, exists only on the surface limiting the artist to one vision. My great wish as an artist is to find pure faith in my own subtlest impulses, without the intrusion of my ego which I know to be “suspicious at least and vicious at worst” (A Course In Miracles). I want to find an intuitive faith which will create transcendent, beautiful objects—objects with rhythm, movement, depth, balance, objects with a mysterious quality that inspires the viewer to an inner experience, to what Richard Pousette-Dart calls “an aesthetic emotion”. That is my ideal. My tools are colors—the “children of light”—and forms fleeting yet visible to the innocent eye.
I want to go beyond style in my work, to become an honest channel for the pure stream of Creative Intelligence as It manifests through me. Let Higher Conscious Dynamism be my style, resplendent with endless change and variety. Let me be true to the impulses of my Higher Self, and let fall the albatross of mind and ego.
150 years ago the novelist Emile Zola wrote: “ A work of Art is a bit of creation seen through a temperament”.
If I have a style that style is my temperament. It is not a gimmick; it is not a product of imagination or technique. Style can never by copied, for it is the absolutely unique rhythm of the individual artist. That uniqueness, manifesting the spark of the Absolute, is the Miracle of Art.
My only fascination with technique is in the courtship of the Beautiful. What paint or pigment, what tip or edge, what surface serves best to render Beauty as I see it? In the macrocosm and in the microcosm of creation I find great joy. God is in the details! He is in the depths when the surface plays upon Him. He is on the surface when there is distance, and close, and Here!
“Two things inspire me to awe”, wrote Albert Einstein, “the starry heavens above and the moral universe within.”
I no longer believe that the artist is a unique kind of man or woman. I believe that every person is a unique kind of artist. We may create havoc or wonderment in our lives, ugliness or beauty, but we are all endowed with the gift of creativity and the awesome responsibility of learning to use it wisely.
Painting is not at the service of my mind. Rather, it is my mind’s healer. Art is beyond the expression of personal emotions. In painting I feel my Being most passionately alive, I am most wholly (holy) myself while simultaneously in touch with my Universality.
Art is the finite in search of the Infinite.
Art exists to enrich the Soul.
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1983-1985 Fine Art apprenticeship with internationally recognized “artist of the unconscious”
Max Shertz, Encino, California (see www.artistUSA2000.com)
1973-1977 Personal apprenticeships and workshops with fine art photographers Minor White, George Tice and Paul Caponigro
1973 Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, B.A. with Honors, Fine Arts
1970-1973 Art History courses at Smith College, Photography Workshops at Harvard University Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology, The University of Rochester and the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York
1977-1978 Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in Art to photograph in Ireland, taught workshop at the National College of Art in Dublin. First Fulbright awarded to an artist in any media.
1982 Minolta Photography Contest
1983 LIFE magazine photography contest
1984 Santa Monica Outlook, ”From Ravages of Flames Two Sculptors Fashion Artwork”
1994 The Westsider. “Artist Survives Trial by Fire”
1973 The Californian, “The Artist Within”
1973 Temecula Valley Magazine, “Daniel Kaufman” First four published paintings
1970 Time-Life Books, two photographs from Ireland in Travel Book series
1978 Ireland:Presences, St. Martin’s Press, coffee table book of all color photographs
1980 Popular Photography magazine, “An Irish Odyssey”, feature article with six page portfolio
1971 Creative Camera magazine, “The Magic of Life”, four page portfolio
1968 Seventeen magazine, first four published photographs and poems
Daniel is also the author of six published non-fiction books and ten picture books for young children
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
1994 Roberts Art Gallery, Santa Monica, California, “Out of the Ashes”, 25 welded sculptures
1991 Creative Arts Gallery, Temecula, California, “Abstract Landscapes of Daniel Kaufman”
1990 Gallery 5, Santa Monica, California, “Emergence of the Children of Light” (first solo painting exhibition)
1980 International Center of Photography (Museum), New York City,“Ireland:Presences”
1983 Kennedy Gallery, Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1977 Acquisitions Gallery, Wellesley, Massachusetts
1974 Kiva Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts
1973 University of Rochester Art Gallery, Rochester, New York
1969 Robert Frost Library, Amherst College
1971 Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts
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another year in LA is located at 2121 N. San Fernando Road, #13, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Gallery phone: 323-223-4000