Spotlight: Penumbral Transmissions

Artist Statement

I’ve always kept a dream journal, even if I didn’t dream. The times that I do not dream, which are very rare, I still make small notes. I try my hardest to record the fragments and those sweeping images and voices that rush in on the tip of hypnagogia. This group of pieces was completed over the course of a few months where I had been making notes from dreams and meditations with a great focus on feelings of loss and isolation. All of these are visual manifestations of what I can only describe in a few words as a feeling of howling silence. Of plunging violently into dark water and sinking into where there is little to no illumination.

I chose graphite as my main medium for these but also weaved in a bit of collage. I mostly experienced deep shadows and flickering umbra that gave off a very sinister impression. But there were, in contrast, times when I would experience vibrant color and heavily saturated waves of light. I chose to keep these pieces untitled. I felt that assigning or making any type of verbal connection would create preconceived ideas instead of a raw experience from a single image.

These pieces are just a few of the works I’ve done in relation to dreams and meditations. Those are tools I use for most everything I do. Giving these fragments of my psyche a shape and bringing them into the world has, little by little, helped me understand myself and the world that lives inside my subconscious. I’ve often heard my work described as “scary,” or “troubled,” “suffering,” “disturbing.” But I do not see this. These are parts of myself and I rarely have feelings of fear when I experience these manifestations. There are times when I am truly in awe of them. Their presence is overwhelming and the drawings I do will never convey the true essence of their existence. But I will keep trying.

Daniel Kern’s work derives from subconscious images that occur from periodic meditation and daydreaming. As a result, he achieves a phantasmal, dream-like quality to the figures and places portrayed in his drawings. In addition to looking for inspiration internally, Daniel’s work is influenced by nature, his sleep paralysis, and accented with symbolism and themes that touch upon different aspects of mythology. Daniel resides in a small quiet vacuum of space somewhere on the south shore of Massachusetts along with his cat Baxter. Daniel’s illustrations have been featured in numerous local poetry zines, States of Terror (Vol 2, Vol 3), and Creepy Romance (Vol 4), and he has self-published two books of selected drawings: TesseraE I and TesseraE II, both of which were successfully funded through Kickstarter.