Dan Lam’s Tactile Technicolor Masterpieces
Dan Lam crafts vibrant, touchable sculptures that skillfully navigate the fine line between fascination and unease. Utilizing unconventional materials like painted polyurethane foam adorned with spikes, Lam’s blob-like creations seem to defy gravity, evoking a playful dance between allure and repulsion, captivating a vast social media following.
Lam’s artistic journey commenced post-MFA at Arizona State University, where she delved into foam experimentation. Scaling up her creations, Lam draws inspiration from the mundane, infusing elements from nature and the human form into her surreal, mesmerizing pieces that appear to transcend the ordinary.
When did you create your first drippy sculpture and how did the idea come about?
During undergrad in 2009, I created my first drip sculpture. My intention was to capture the essence of a liquid substance in motion and to create something that would inspire curiosity and wonder. Although I used different materials back then, I later revisited this concept in 2015, using polyurethane foam. The foam was much thicker and had a more demanding presence, resulting in a more impactful piece.
Describe your creative process; does the theme for an exhibition come first, or is it the work and pieces you have in mind?
The creative process usually begins with my work on a show as I start creating various pieces. Gradually, these pieces start to come together, like a puzzle, until I can see the bigger picture and figure out the overall theme. The title of the show usually comes last, once I have enough work to react to.
What inspires you the most to create?
I find that my inspiration to create comes from both within me and the world around me, working together to cultivate my creativity. I try to remain open and receptive to ideas, like an antenna, catching whatever comes my way. Although there are many sources of inspiration for me, nature is especially significant.
How is the Texas art scene, and does it influence your work?
The Texas art scene is vibrant. There are countless diverse voices and styles to be found here, which is truly inspiring. People are working hard and supporting one another, each in their own creative pursuit. While I can’t say that there are direct influences on my work, I believe the strong work ethic that permeates the community fosters a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among fellow artists.
We love your social handle name @sopopomo, what’s the significance?
Thank you! I created the account back in 2014 while I was pursuing my Master’s degree. The username sopopomo is a shortened form of “so post post modern,” which was a humorous answer to the question asked to all MFA students about where their work fits in the context of art history.
Is there one exhibition or piece that really stands out that you are most proud of and why?
In 2021, I created “A Subtle Alchemy” for Nasher Public, which is a public art initiative presented by the Nasher Sculpture Center in the museum’s front gallery. This piece is one of the largest works I have ever created, standing at 8 feet tall. It was made over the course of two months at my studio, which is unusual for me as I normally outsource fabrication for my large-scale works. This was also my first museum show, and I am very proud of this piece and exhibition because it was the culmination of a lot of hard work.
What do you love best about being an artist?
That ability to create and express myself is at the core of everything I do. As an artist, I find inspiration in every aspect of life, and I believe that everything around us is art. This belief has brought immense beauty to my life, and I feel truly blessed to experience it every day.
What’s next? Any upcoming exhibitions or releases?
I have a solo exhibition, Guttation, at Hashimoto Contemporary in New York City that runs from December 16 to January 6. During Basel in Miami, I will also show my large-scale sculpture, A Subtle Alchemy, at Wynwood Walls for Art Week.
Dan Lam website: https://bydanlam.com/