If you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, or to our Sideshow forums, you may already be quite familiar with Dan Talone(sethsabbat), whose gorgeous collections we’ve featured before, as well as a series of delightful guest posts during Le Carnaval Des Spectres. This time, we are thrilled to welcome him to Stranger Factory as an exhibiting artist, for our Sideshow exhibition opening in August.
Dan’s art is an atmospheric combination of Old World charm and rustic hand sewing, and his fabric sculpture is a delightful reflection of his eerie, off kilter, packratty, aesthetic.
He took some time away from his busy life in Paris to chat with us about his influences and collections!
Circus Posterus: How did you find your way to Paris? (You’re originally from America, right?)
Dan Talone: I actually left the states for London. My intention at the time was to take a little voyage before continuing my university education. Needless to say, I extended my visit for 5 years. Towards the end of that 5 years there were several events that took place that brought me to Paris. It was a good time for a new adventure. Now after 18 years here I am not sure I could make another move like that again.
How did you end up working with textiles, and what draws you to textile art?
I had a string of jobs that were back to back involving textile. It started off with wrapping a very old tree in silk in Florence, followed by the covering of furniture and found objects in Irish tweed in Kildare and then decorating a commercial center with 500 pairs of jeans in Belgium. I amassed a lot of fabric! I started to do little pieces of work and experiments, I never sewed before in my life, but was amazed at the pieces of handwork I would find in the brocantes (flea markets) here in Paris. My 3D stuff started with a combination of making creations based from my nephew’s drawings, and doing accessories for a song in a French piece of theater called Les Joyeux Bouchers by Boris Vian (The Happy Butchers) which called for slabs of meat, skinned rabbits and legs of ham all in fabric.
We’ve seen some of your amazing Circus Posterus collection images before – what else do you collect?
I suppose the better question would be, what do I NOT collect! Apart from my old mercantile collection, old fabrics, buttons threads, needles, scissors, handwork, …I have several collections going on including vintage and victorian taxidermy, including hat feathers from that epoch, (often you would have half the bird). Shells and a few minerals/rocks, Dead Bird Statues by Paul Colomera, and the students that studied under him, old game pieces in bone (dice, chips, dominoes) Marriage Globes and the objects related to them. Religious and Esoteric items, Old toys, lots of insolite items, the list can go on and on. As for current items, apart from both Kathie and Brandt’s work, I have a few Amanda Louise Spayd pieces, and a very large collection of Nathan Jurevicius. There is a lot of amazing artists I would like to add to my collection, but I need to wait until I get a bigger place.
How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
It’s kind of a mixed bag of found objects. I like to accumulate groups, so I have certain spaces for different things. The taxidermy is in one area, the religious/esoteric stuff in another. Many items are packed up in antique traveling crates, so there is a whole wall of that. I guess the best way to describe it, is that my home is my own private museum and Cabinet de Curiosités. I am fortunate to live in a building built in 1910, so that adds to the atmosphere. It’s all old and lived in with nothing too formal or too precious. There’s a strange harmony to the objects, and though they may not have been made in the same decade it all seems to work together. The artists I collect add to this aesthetic. Adding their pieces to my found objects seems to bring it all together for me. It’s always interesting to see the reactions of people’s first visits. There is an enormous amount of visuals compacted into a very small space.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the body of work that will be in Sideshow?
With the theme of the show being Circus Sideshow, I went more for the sideshow aspect. I have always loved the idea of the freak show/curiosités tent and remember visiting a few in upstate NY. I decided to tackle the Feejee mermaid in my medium and with a slightly more skeletal vision. The flea circus also came to mind for this show, and the final result also would best be seen in the Curiosités Tent. The 3rd piece is more of a character piece and based on a series I have been making. I gave him a circus background theme, though a rather sad one. Finally I wanted to rework the idea of straw stuffed carnival prizes. Before the beaded styrofoam balls took over. I managed to complete one and hope to have a second done before the show. In the larger pieces I have included found accessories to go a long with the final sculptures. The natural materials used in the creations were also for the most part found in a brocante. Like others, I find there’s a bit of energy in older things, and quite often the quality in the fabric, if it has been well kept, is better.
If you’d like to meet the fascinating Mr. Talone, it just so happens that he will be present at the opening of Sideshow! You can also follow him on Facebook.
Sideshow opens on Friday, August 1st from 6 – 9 pm at Stranger Factory.