Vandal: Daniel Chang Christensen
Into the woods with Daniel Chang Christensen — a.k.a. anobelisk
the illustrator behind the artwork for khoman room's second collection, "Reanimist."
Text: Spencer Ahn Videos: Patrick Chen
We took a road trip down to Virginia to visit our friend, fellow RISD graduate, and illustrator/painter who created the artwork for Khoman Room's latest collection "Re-Animist". He took some time to talk to us about his feelings about the landscape of contemporary art and where he draws his inspiration from, check it out below.
I’m Daniel Chang Christensen and I am an Illustrator and a Painter. I’d say my biggest influence or inspiration is nature, just the natural world, especially like the woods. I’ve sort of grown up in this kind of wooded suburb here (Virginia) and at different points. Ah well I was a boy scout, I’m actually an eagle scout, you know, just saying… Um so I spent a lot of time camping and just being out in nature so that’s always sort of been a powerful experience for me. And I also do a lot of portraiture and so, I guess, that comes from just sort of being interested in people. And, you know, the people I care about I paint them. I don’t know if it’s to sort of understand them better or like to feel a little closer to them, but I just think it’s like an interesting experience.
“Artist” maybe doesn’t mean a lot as a title, really. I mean, there’s a lot of people who call themselves “artists” who are basically just treading water in terms of like ideas and aren’t really putting anything new out into the world or even anything that personal to them out into the world. But there’s also people who have never received any kind of training at all that I think just, by virtue of them engaging creatively, like people who make memes and stuff, I think you know you can call memers artists, because they’re sort of synthesizing ideas and producing like new ideas from what they’re taking in and they’re making it communicate in a way that it didn’t before.
Working with Khoman Room it was really like a collaborative effort of me having these like graphics and vague ideas for how they could be applied to different clothing. And Khoman Room was like the, I guess, more specific ideas for the collection and what you [Wow & Spencer] were trying o make.
I have these sort of specific images that’s were based on things that I was interest in like dogs and stuff and kinds of transformation. And Khoman Room was able to sort of synthesize that into applications that I really wouldn’t have been able to come up with with like limited background from Illustration.
The symbolism of the dog and the kind of animistic ideas of, I don’t know, sort wildness, but also loyalty and strength kind of vibed with the ideas that you [Wow] had about these Thai tattoos, which are sort of these sacred tattoos that have kind of talismanic properties that either protect or enhance certain virtues of the people who have them. So I felt like those two ideas were kind of in dialogue while we were collaborating.
I tried to create a series of illustrations that I though would function as sort of like talismans when they were made into these final garments so that’s where I guess you get the specific like Thai tattoo motifs and the different dog motifs from. Collaboration in the Arts, at least, I mean, I guess everywhere, it’s very powerful, I guess, for the same reasons that Art itself is powerful as you are just able to take these disparate ideas and sort of synthesize something new out of them in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to on your own. Because, you know, each person thinks in their own specific way. So when two people come together over like even a single idea they’ll both sort of respond to it in different ways and from those different responses you can synthesize a new thing based on that one single idea. So I think that kind of opens up like almost unlimited possibilities just based on any given collaboration. Because you’ll always be able to come up with something that neither person would’ve been able to come up with on their own so I think its just generally a very powerful tool.
Also, here's a look back at Daniel working on the infamous "Anobelisk" leather jacket for Col. 002 "Reanimist."
For more of Daniel's work...