I joined this cool online art portfolio website called, Dropr, a few years ago and have been an active participant in submitting various pieces of my work to the online public. It has also been a great source for seeking inspiration by several artists throughout the world. Part of the appeal of Dropr is that users can track their viewership via a line graph as well as see on a map where your art has been seen throughout the globe. Other artists can follow one another and save favorite pieces in specific collections for reference or simply for enjoyment. One artist in particular has always been a frequent visitor by yours truly. His name is Daniel Edlen and he makes wonderful masterpieces on vinyl records. After following him since Dropr entered my life, I decided to learn more about his career in this art world.
To start, I asked how this all began. “In high school I did a project with white pencil on black paper [and] that inspired the idea. Years later, I refined the technique using just white acrylic after a family friend suggested I try selling them.” Since then, his work has been featured all over Dropr in my feed. I love his stuff not only because the musicians he chooses are worthwhile, but rather his attention to detail on each project. His brush strokes reveal the hair, shadows and excellent contrast of the white on black. He captures all the musicians in a specific moment that makes them instantly distinguishable.
I know what you are saying, what makes this guy any different than then myriad of vinyl artists on the NYC streets? Well, I asked Daniel to talk about his favorites works that have a little bonus compared to his contemporaries in the field (See pieces below). “The Lou Reed and George Clinton are favorites because I got to give the pieces to them. The work for [the] David Lynch Foundation for Download for Good [includes] the one of him [that] he signed for auction [was] also very cool.” There you have it. Not only is his work far more meticulous, he actually has been able to share the work with the inspirational musicians of the same likeness. “I’d love to someday paint Sir Paul McCartney [and] to give [one to] him, because he’s Sir Paul McCartney.”
It is not all fun and games for Mr. Edlen. “I was commissioned to paint Bob Dylan that [was going to] be given to him as a gift from the venue. Knowing that he is a visual artist too and quite opinionated, I was worried about his response. I didn’t hear anything, which I take as a good thing.” Oh, I bet Mr. Dylan enjoyed his new artwork. Who can say no to themselves on a vinyl record?
Beyond vinyl work, Daniel has explored other mediums as well. “I have created portraits of authors in their books using a similar technique. They take a really long time so I’d need to be able to devote enough to them which won’t happen for a while, but they are nice.” I look forward to seeing them! I can only imagine what a J.R.R. Tolkien one would look like. “If I had the wherewithal, I’d do more elaborate presentations. People who’ve commissioned groupings and then framed the pieces themselves have been great. I honestly don’t think specifically about the ‘art world.’ I pay attention to the world of art around us.”
I recommend that you all invest in a Daniel Edlen piece for your living room. He has some exciting stuff coming down the line as well. “I’ve got commissions for a couple groupings that’ll be fun. Then I will see what comes my way. I’ve been sharing my Vinyl Art paired with quotes from the subject at http://vaontherecord.tumblr.com and I’d love to create a coffee table book someday. It’ll be called Groovy Portraits, OnTheRecord…” That will be my next in my library to share in my apartment. It is bound to get a bunch of good conversations started with guests. So, if you love musical art, take a gander at Mr. Edlen’s work. If you are a musician, you should request one of your vinyl records to be created in your likeness and be proud. Daniel will do a god job for you.