queer/disrupt gained insight on this piece by reading the abstract, as well as through an interview conducted by Hannah Ayres with Daniel.
Daniel is a queer artist and academic - at the time of submission they were undertaking a PhD in Loughborough University. Their research works to explore the intersection between craft and queer identity in contemporary art practice. Daniel's artistic practice centres around working with found objects, mostly textiles, and they see a particular affinity between their own queer identities and discarded objects that have been unloved, discarded, and refused. Many of the sculptures also take on abject forms and associations with queer sexual cultures which are often perceived as 'dirty' by heteronormative society. This process became more difficult in lockdown as they had no access to the studio and there was the issue that found objects could be contaminated and so Daniel had to reuse other projects, as well working with scraps of material left over. Daniel also works in textiles to exploit its status as something 'low', 'amateur' and 'feminine', whilst also challenging notions of domesticity. The slow process of stitching also works as a therapeutic exercise. Stitching works as a reparative function, both in actual practice and as a metaphor. Daniel stated that their work process tends to be quite conceptual and is underpinned with lots of research. Once this has taken place, the making of the work is quick and instinctive; it offers Daniel the chance to zone out for a little a while.
The images submitted document the series STUFFED (2020). The title plays with language as it refers to the colloquial term for fucking, as well as the material used within the project - found cushion stuffing. This series was made in the space of a week and Daniel created these works in lockdown as a rumination on the need for connectivity, companionship, and community during times of self-isolation and social distancing. Daniel lives alone and so lockdown had significance effects on their mental health. These cushion-like soft sculptures because somewhat of a crafted community and queer kind to support them during this tumultuous time. The pieces reflect notions of 'skin hunger' - our biological need for human connection. Akin to transitional objects, they become a form of 'security blanket' and can be interacted with, played with, or cuddled.
You can find Daniel's website here.