When I met Dan Attoe we were both starting the MFA program at the University of Iowa. I’ve known him for eight years now, and even though Dan lives in Washington State and I live in New York we have maintained our friendship through collaborations, especially with the art group Paintallica.
While at school we became friends – I’ve noticed Dan sort of collects weirdos like me. Before coming to grad school Dan had created a studio practice that involved making a painting a day, and was already working on paintings that have a relationship to his current work. While in school Dan wasn’t stuck on some notion of an ideal practice, he just worked while everyone else was talking about how to work, he wasn’t terribly concerned with theories; he has a background in psychology and knew to trust his own creative faculties.
While everyone else was screwing around with their identities, Dan had already settled into a kind of self-knowledge. I don’t know if his gnosis came from growing up in the deep woods with a forest ranger for a father, or from one of the experiences he had growing up that caused him to study psychology and art.
Being alive you meet a lot of bull shitters and have to play a lot of stupid games, but rarely do you meet someone as genuine and considerate as Dan.