Montreal collage-artist Daniel Leznoff has garnered a storm of attention with his Tumblr of daily psychedelic collages. Exetera caught up with him to chat about art, music, and eating chocolate in his sleep.
Tell us what it’s like in Montreal and how your work is received there.
Montreal is where I’m from. Lately we’ve had a lot of static going on (the racist proposed Quebec Charter of Values/student riots/ridiculous language issues/past two mayors stepped down amid corruption allegations) but I don’t even notice anything; it’s just one foot in front of the other trying to stay productive and paid. I’m proud to call the city home no matter how disreputable the scandal of the week may be. My work mostly exists online so there’s nothing to say about how I’m received here, other than I’m not.
It’s addictive to create something from nothing. Collage is one of many ways I reach into the dark and try to come back with something. I’ve previously said that I focus on collage because I don’t have the resources to pursue more elaborate/ornamented/budgeted projects. That said, despite the accessibility of collage to the everyday person, the singularity of this technique’s results offers something particular (and hard to define) that no other discipline provides as instantly and unexpectedly. For this reason, I suspect I will continue to produce collage as I hopefully advance to more gilded offerings.
‘A new collage here every day’. Ever regret that statement?
I think you’re getting at the fact that it must be hard to create and share a finished piece daily. But I don’t do that. My collages are loaded in advance and released in an automated fashion. I have nearly a thousand pieces so it’s not an issue for me to share one daily. Sometimes I consider posting more…
Is there a particular magazine that’s your favourite for sourcing images?
I’m not picky. I prefer to use things I’ve never heard of or seen before, and vintage is what I enjoy the most. My favourite way to find images is when they find me – I’ll dig through a box of tossed books on the side of the road, drawing suspicious looks from passerby, for the greater good of the reassembled image.
Do you have a favourite collage?
I have a least favourite concept, and it’s the concept of favouritism.
You’re an artist, a musician and a teacher, but tell us one of your vices.
Eating chocolate in my sleep.
Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met through your work?
I kicked it with Robert Pollard at his opening a few years back, which inspired me to produce collages of my own. The most interesting people I have met through collage I haven’t actually met, we’ve just done collaborative collages through the mail. There are too many to name, but I’m excited about my upcoming pieces with Jesse Treece. He is a gifted collagist with something of a career coming together (he’s showing up in cool publications, doing album art and film posters). I know he finished some works with pieces I sent him and I just got his dossier of stuff he sent me so people can check our sites for all that coming soon and check him out at collageartbyjesse.tumblr.com.
You’ve moved into music. What’s happening there?
Music is the most important thing for me. I am working on a lot of music at all times, which I’ve been releasing as Danny Cmon. Like my collage work, I view my music work as a process of transmission. I just let the work pass through me and don’t really feel like I created anything or own anything about what I do. If something works out, it’s just a gift that’s meant to be shared and enjoyed. I’m working hard to make the most enjoyable and heartfelt music I can possibly make. So far, I’ve been doing mostly instrumental stuff, but the vocals are coming, please believe that.
You also mentioned fashion and design gigs, can you expand on that?
I am lucky to have lots of things cooking at the moment, but in hopes of not jinxing anything I’ll only mention that the good people at Stealthy Kultuur have asked me to produce some pieces for them.
You’ve got so much going on, what do you do for your down-time?
Family, hiking, Twin Peaks, west coast rap, and doing what I gotta do to buy my girlfriend more shoes.
Any artists or musicians of the moment we should check out?
I know a few young producers out here in Montreal, my guys, but I don’t even know what they’re calling themselves this week so I’ll leave that alone. Let me just say that in addition to all of the intriguing, diverse and extremely talented acts coming out of MTL these past few years, really getting the most out of scenes and succeeding internationally, there is even another underground to the current underground, people even further beneath the surface, and to those music fans worldwide who look to our fair city for a sound unlike any other I say keep looking this way, because several additional crops of fascinating artists have yet to harvest the fruits of their labours in obscurity, and they are hurriedly preparing to deliver work of a high calibre, for the sakes of pleasure, inspiration, enlightenment and surprise.
A videographer I am happy to call a friend is Matt Oppenheimer, whose work can be encountered at mattoppenheimer.com
The album I am most looking forward to this year is “Sunset Blvd.” by the Yancey Boys (Illa J & Frank Nitt on unheard J Dilla beats) out on Delicious Vinyl.
My favourite albums of the year so far are ambient: Harold Budd “Jane 1-11” and Lloyd Cole & Has-Joachim Roedelius “Selected Studies Vol. 1”
For more of Danny’s collages check out http://dannycollage.tumblr.com.
Listen to his mixes below and see what you think:
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