Artist of the Month - David-Simon Dayan
A year ago
- what was the first photography book you bought?
The Ballad of Sexual Dependency by Nan Goldin which I love. So many of the photographs stop me in my tracks. They feel so alive and raw.
- what is your favourite colour?
Hm. It depends what it’s for. Clothing? Art? Decor? I just got “The Secret Lives of Color” which was a very thoughtful inside joke of a gift from someone who knows I have a color identification app on my phone that I use all the time in hopes of expanding my color vocabulary. The names are idiotically specific, but the goal is to stop referring to the app to regurgitate them.
- who are your photographic influences?
My primary influences are Avedon, Goldin, Hujar, and Mapplethorpe. Each photographer has certain qualities that inspire me. The playfulness in Avedon’s, the desire in Goldin’s, the intimacy in Hujar’s, the power in Mapplethorpe’s. Time changes things, though. Recently, I’ve been drawn to experimenting with a heavier hand of editing in post as well as adding elements of set and studio lighting. But I will always love the intimacy of film and shoots with minimal scenes and crews.
- what is your favourite museum?
It’s difficult to choose one favorite, but I’ve seen some of the strongest curations of work at the Barbican and Guggenheim, though I appreciate going to more intimate shows, setting aside time to see a few smaller galleries in an afternoon.
- if you could buy any photograph which would it be?
I’ve never been good at choosing one of anything. How about five? But it’d be something by one of the aforementioned photographers. Maybe Orgasmic Man by Hujar, or one of the Joe Rubberman images, or a self-portrait by Mapplethorpe. Misty and Jimmy in a taxi by Goldin.
- your favourite holiday destination?
I visited a few parts of Mexico recently and it feels so alive and exciting. The food tastes like home since I grew up in California. I visited a few ceramic studios and am planning on, and am excited, to take ceramics classes soon. The sensual element of it feels so fresh, so different to my relationship with photography. Though the camera becomes an extension of the artist, a tool, the process of creating imagery can feel removed at certain points. The ephemeral quality of photography is one of my favorite aspects of it. But it’s not tangible or three dimensional in the same way. When I was living in London I planned to visit neighboring countries as much as possible, but Covid stood in the way of that. I can’t wait to visit Lisbon and Tel Aviv soon.
- if there is one living person you could photograph who would it be?
I actually made a thorough list of people I’d love to photograph, but I don’t want to jinx anything. At the top of my list is one of my favorite musicians, whom I am excitedly photographing next month after reaching out on a whim.
- what is your guilty pleasure?
Drag Race. Donuts. Dancing. Sex. Guilt is pointless. If it brings you joy and doesn’t bring anyone else harm, what’s there to feel guilty about?
- what is your favourite city?
I will always love New York City because I lived there at such a formative time, and dreamt of it much of my childhood. I’m sure I’ll be there again someday.
- which charities do you support?
The Trevor Project, as someone who’s dealt with tricky mental health often linked to shame, I wish I knew about it when I really needed someone to listen. Mercy for Animals. I’ve been vegan for just about ten years now, and think there’s a belief disparity in otherwise very critically thinking individuals, which I’m gladly watching change in real time. Animal rights should be addressed more often. The Marsha P. Johnson Institute. Choose Love, especially now with the number of refugees growing because of Putin’s fragile ego. The Rainbow Railroad.