ArtPatron Magazine
Palm Springs - Laguna Beach

Daniel Pollock

 

PASSION FIRST

Questions & Answers
with DANIEL POLLOCK


written by Christine Dodd

 

 
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Tell us a little bit about your early life. “I always did woodwork and I was a firewood cutter in the beginning. I came out to Apple Valley just out of high school. My parents had moved up here, it was the time when the Manson family was hanging out at the hot springs but Manson was already in jail. Big Bear is right up the hill. I ran the firewood business for 20 years.”
How did you get started as an artist? “I met a guy in the hot springs near my place, a world traveler with a one-of-a-kind store in Chicago. He came into my camp and we became friends and he introduced me to the world of interior design. Troy’s in New York was my first gallery and worked as a calling card to help me get into other galleries.”
What is the best piece of advice you have been given? “’Keep it simple.’ My work starts with a chain saw. My clients want the zen, not something complicated.”
What is your favorite thing about your art studio? “It’s my home. Every afternoon I have lots of friends who show up and hang out. There’s a pool up at the house. I live on the Mojave riverbed and have a trail up to the hot springs. I actually lived at the hot springs back in the day for about 4 years, I’ve had my property here for 44 years.”

 

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What is the biggest sacrifice you have made to be an artist? “I’ve been lucky in my life, and I’ve always been self-employed. So it’s not a sacrifice—I’m obsessed.”
What does success mean to you? “Contentment. We are always chasing things, and success is to be content with what you have. I have ten acres on my property and my daughter has the adjacent property with my three grand kids. My other daughter is close by in town too.”
Name the biggest overall lesson you have learned in marketing yourself as an artist. “The marketing I am not that good at. Luckily I’ve never had to do much, thanks to my introductions in New York, and then my 15 years with Japanache in L.A. I had to understand the difference between retail and wholesale. Using a gallery means that they handle it. I am currently in Colin Fisher Studios in Palm Springs,  Blackman Cruz in Hollywood, Suite New York on Park Avenue, and Elements in Chicago.”
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up? “I doubt myself all the time. I work on a piece and think no one is going to buy this. I just keep working. If I build it, they will come. I have to have the pieces built if I am going to sell them, and it takes 2-3 months to finish a piece, so I always have a lot of projects going at once.”

In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting a career as an artist? “I don’t know if you should start a career to be an artist. You have to have the passion first. I worked for a long time and did not make any money at it. I’m not college-trained in art, all my stuff comes from one piece leading to another.”
What book is on your nightstand right now? “I refer to art books, Noguchi. I always look at shapes, but it doesn’t have to be wood. I look at rocks, pottery.”
What inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love? “I mainly draw from nature as an inspiration.”
Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night. “I fret about custom orders. When I get a custom order, it has to be exactly the way they want it. I might want to do something different as I go through the process and the wood changes. I might want it to be a different color.”
 What is the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot? “I’ve always been self-motivated. One piece leads to the next and I am work-obsessed. I’m well balanced between work and play. I am now trying to feel content while slowing down and doing less. It is meditative, the work I do.”