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Q&A: Daniel Rozin reflects on his mirror artworks

Q&A: Daniel Rozin reflects on his mirror artworks

January 19, 2016 // by Jaime DeSimone

Daniel Rozin explores the psychology of mirrored reflection through robotics and computer vision. Three of his works appear in Smoke and Mirrors: Sculpture and the Imaginary-Self-Centered MirrorAngles Mirror, and Penguins Mirror. We were surprised to hear about where he gets his inspiration, including the inadvertent way his wife has contributed to his work.

Daniel Rozin Discusses Penguins Mirror
Daniel Rozin discusses Penguins Mirror with a group of touring students during installation of Smoke and Mirrors: Sculpture and the Imaginary in September 2015. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

How would you describe your work to someone who's never seen it?

My work falls into a category of “interactive digital art.” In a wider description, it could be categorized as “new media” or mixed “mixed media,” but these terms don't do much to describe the pieces. All of my art pieces are “mirrors”; this means that anyone standing in front of the piece is reflected in it. This is achieved in a variety of media, including kinetic sculpture, software, static sculpture, and print. 

What ideas do you explore in your work?

The two main ideas that my work investigates are viewer participation and image creation. Though the content and technique of each of my pieces might differ, all pieces include some form of viewer participation or interaction and some aspect of image creation.

What do you want people to know about your work?

I am happy for people to know about my work altogether. But the important part is for them to recognize how art can take different forms and change for particular viewers and not be some removed artifact in a museum that you don't understand.

Where do you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes mostly from science and scientific concepts like evolution and laws of nature and geometry. I am also very inspired buy painting styles and painters of almost all styles.

Daniel Rozin Installs Penguins Mirror
Daniel Rozin installs Penguins Mirror before the opening of Smoke and Mirrors: Sculpture and the Imaginary in September 2015. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

What's your workspace like? When and where do you like to create your art?

My studio is a mixture of woodworking tools, fabrication tools, electronics, and computers. It is usually pretty messy. I am pretty orderly in my time. Because I teach full time at New York University, my time in my studio is limited, so I arrive early and work as long as I can.

How do you prepare for a new project?

Preparation for a new piece can take years. Some ideas for pieces I have had for more than ten years before something clicked and I was able to complete them. Things take a long time to germinate. When you are working on a commission piece, you don't necessarily have the luxury of time and need to rush things. In those cases, I usually depend on ideas that I have thought about in the past. 

Tell us something surprising about your creative process or your working style.

My wife is a composer; she takes me to these awful concerts of contemporary music. During these concerts I usually “zone out” and start thinking about ideas and a few of my better ideas have come to life thanks to these concerts.

What is your next project?

I am furthering my investigation into evolution and the use of evolution as a mechanism to create image.

How will exhibiting your work at MOCA Jacksonville affect your career?

For an artist, any show of work is an important step. Having a major museum dedicate resources and space to show your work is very humbling and an amazing opportunity. I am looking forward to meeting the people of Jacksonville and sharing my art with them and seeing their response.

 Attend the free Third Thursday Tour featuring Rozin's work on Thursday, January 21. Please register here.

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