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Dante Aleksandr Penman (b. 1986, England)

I started my visual art journey in 2004 by accident – At the time I was living in South Wales, studying music at college and homeless. A local photographer was looking for a group of young homeless people to take disposable cameras and document a ‘day in the life’, I took some cameras and shot over 100 images of everything from the ocean to the people around me. The collective project eventually became a group show open to the public and after seeing the reactions of people looking at my work, I was inspired to shift my attention to photography and the rest just spiraled out from there. I supplemented my photography some years later with adult classes in various media under the guidance of incredible teachers.

In the spring of 2013 I graduated from the School of the Photographic Arts Ottawa (SPAO) where I focused on early photographic processes and lighting styles of the Modernist period. I then completed the Artist Residency at SPAO where I embarked on my first solo exhibition, Liebe Handwerk! The exhibition was a presentation of linocut printmaking, chemigram prints, fungi sculptures and a handmade exhibition catalogue with an essay on the creative process and Dadaist poetry, as well as the geography and bestiary of H. P Lovecraft that inspired the exhibition.

I am currently an independent, interdisciplinary artist in Canada working in my private studio and learning every day.

Statement of current work

I am examining and re-connecting with the town I grew up in, immersing myself and accepting my childhood nostalgia as an important truth and an essential part of who I am as an adult. As an only child with a single mother, too often I found myself occupying my imagination in drab government waiting rooms and council offices saturated with fluorescent bulbs, muzak and earth tone decor. Department stores made from mirrors, black furniture and chrome dress racks were my first glimpse into an infinite landscape of which exploration was discouraged, yet inevitable. Decaying council estates (or home, as I called it for many years) were graveyards of labyrinthine alleyways, empty houses and forgotten communities - Without which I wouldn’t have such a warm, yet grim fondness for the stain of water damage on concrete.

I am drawing inspiration from cultural shifts in the 90’s as well as leftover architecture and design from the 70’s and 80’s that stuck around in Swansea long after it should have been updated. When combined with such visual examples as Gilliam’s Brazil and Tsukerman’s Liquid Sky, the subjugating fiction of Kafka and a Human League riff, it has almost hallucinatory properties where I am transported back, moments coloured by childhood imagination under a foreboding climate.

These works have so far manifested into three-dimensional dioramas, to be accompanied by audio and video components.

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Education

2013-2014 - Ottawa School of Art, Ottawa, ON / Printmaking

2011-2013 - School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON / Photography

2009-2011 - University of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Wales / Maj. Photography, Elect. Film Studies & Art History

2003-2009 - Swansea Arts College, Swansea, Wales / Visual Arts & Music

Awards and Scholarships

2013 - Artist residency scholarship. Merit-based scholarship, Private donor.

2013 - Applied Arts, Student Award [Article] [Tearsheet PDF]

2012 - Award of Visual Merit: Exhibition, Level 1. In recognition of outstanding achievement in Exhibition No.7, School of the Photographic Arts

2012 - The Lux Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting, School of the Photographic Arts

2012 - Jeune Talent Award, Sponsored by Yobé-Trépanier for the Arts

Artist Residencies

2013-2014 - Directed Research and Production, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

Public Talks

2014 - Liebe Handwerk!, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2013 - The lumen print and photogram, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

Solo Exhibitions

2014 - Liebe Handwerk!, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

Group Exhibitions

2015 - Dissonance, Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa, ON

2014-2015 - Under $500 Holiday Show & Fundraiser, Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa, ON

2014 - A Year In Reflection, Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa, ON

2014 - PUSH: The New Printmakers, Studio Sixty Six, Ottawa, ON [Article]

2014 - Lumen Eyes: The Art of the Lumen Print, Plates to Pixels, Web-based exhibition [link]

2014 - Exhibition No. 9, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2013 - The Postcard Collective, Fall Exchange, Worldwide

2013 - Chinatown Remixed, Ottawa, ON

2013 - Exhibition No. 8, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2013 - SPAO Print Sale, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2013 - UN/SEEN, La Petite Mort Gallery, Ottawa, ON

2013 - Must Have, Must Wine Bar, Ottawa, ON

2012 - The Postcard Collective, Fall Exchange, Worldwide

2012 - Open House, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2012 - Nuit Blanche: Shoot Back, Lee Matasi Gallery, OSA, Ottawa, ON

2012 - Exhibition No. 7, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2012 - SPAO Print Sale, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2011 - Open House, School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, ON

2008 - Access to the Arts Show: Ballardian Architecture, Swansea, Wales, UK

2004 - Empowering, Swansea, Wales, UK

Self-Published Works

2014 - Liebe Handwerk!, Rue D’Auseil Press, Ottawa, ON ISBN: 978-0-9921484-0-9
[featured - Editorial Design Served]

2013 - Argentum et Lux: Volume 1 - Lumen, Rue D’Auseil Press, Ottawa, ON

Featured

2013 - Applied Arts Magazine, Student Awards [Article] [Tearsheet PDF]

2013 - Art & Science Journal, Issue 2 - Contributing artist

2009 - The Pinhole Camera: A Practical How-to Book for Making Pinhole Cameras and Images

by Brian J. Krummel ISBN:1442187662