Daniel Pecijarevski is an artist who lives in Los Angeles, California. His work is pretty broad-ranged www.danielpeci.com, but for this interview, I really wanted to talk with him about a series of watercolors that he has created. I own quite a few of them and relate to them on a variety of levels. I'm calling this journal entry "Real Hallucination" because it seems like such an appropriate description of the watercolors which are simultaneously spiritual, dream-like and ethereal, yet somehow rooted in reality. They're like daydreams. They seem to ask, "Am I dreaming this?"
MICHAEL: Hey Daniel. I'm so moved and impressed by the watercolors that you're doing right now. To me, they seem like fading dreams that you struggle to remember or people caught in some hallucinogenic state. How did you come up with the concept?
DANIEL: The watercolors came in an intellectual form at first, formed as thoughts and ideas about questions of spiritual nature. The first watercolors from this series were all abstract, with signs and associations to certain forms. Later on, faces started emerging from the abstract. I don't know these faces, they manifested themselves into a material form on my paper, maybe they are memory-based, but maybe they are coming from an external source. The water as a medium served me well with its natural flow and capability to depict the transparency of the physical form and the vividness of the soul. The result of dreamlike-hallucination states I think comes from my own altered state that I'm in while creating them. They are a pure reflection of that, where perception is transitional and always changing … fluid like water. I might be in a state like that for a part of a second, which will be automatically evident in the actual artwork.
MICHAEL: So, it doesn't sound like you could've achieved the same ethereal, multi-layered effect for these pieces with oil or acrylic.
DANIEL: Maybe I couldn't have. This medium gives that opportunity for this certain way of perception, watery-like, altered states like, where nothing is definitive, ever changing, just like the medium itself, the water. I'm sure if I could use fire as a medium, the results would have been much different.
MICHAEL: It's funny because I think watercolors seem to be the stepchild of the art world. In my travels, I see them at art fairs, but not in "serious" art galleries very often. Am I hallucinating?
DANIEL: Watercolors usually have that sketchy feeling. That may be the reason for not being considered that "serious." They don’t have the finished look of an oil painting, but at the same time they show the spontaneity of the artist and his brushwork, since every stroke is being recorded on the paper. Also the use of this medium is very personal and can be treated differently depending on the artist. You can see them in galleries too. The medium itself is as good as any. It all depends on how it is used again.
MICHAEL: How do you determine how large your works will be? All of your watercolors that I own are quite small. Is it a practical consideration (affordability of materials) or an artistic one? I ask because Charles Eames once said, "Design depends largely on constraints." Could the same be true for art?
DANIEL: No. It’s not a practical consideration. The larger the size of the watercolor, paper that is, the harder it gets to control larger portions of the surface at the same time. It's a technical problem rather, since the water dries really quickly. When it’s a smaller scale piece, I think it’s easier to manipulate this specific medium to achieve the desired effect/idea/concept. I have done large watercolors before. I had to apply different approaches to get what I want working in sections mostly. I wouldn’t say the other one is better, but it might be easier to keep a better cohesiveness with the small ones.
MICHAEL: With more and more artists using computers, I still don't see these watercolors being developed any other way than by hand. Ironically, a couple of them flirt with themes of technology. Has technology played a role in your work yet? What would be the point of creating works that have a watercolor effect on computer?
DANIEL: I don’t think there's any point in creating watercolor "like" art on the computer. This medium produces certain effects or moods just because it is this certain medium, so I don’t think there's any need to make something similar to that using a tool like a PC. I'm sure computer generated art will produce its own feeling which is usually very different and has its artificial feeling most of the time. Mediums like watercolor have the directness from the artist to the paper … the idea is created spontaneously. I think that's why the value of art will never change, because something is created by hand, the tool, directly on the surface. My watercolors might have the incorporated signs of technology mostly as ideas, or influences from the environment that we are in. Still, the essence of the concepts are of a spiritual nature. Of course, some new developments in technology today, can be associated with spiritual connotations and vice versa, I guess that's why each piece of artwork is a personal perception of the viewer. Its translation is also personal.
MICHAEL: Do you actually create the mood of the piece, or do you, pardon me, go with the flow? Can I assume that your mood at the time of creation is reflected in each watercolor?
DANIEL: I'm sure it is reflected on the paper, my mood that is, I don't really know how visible it is though, my perception is usually changed while I work and my mind is just a medium to receive info. Sometimes it feels like it's not me that's creating, like I'm a conduit of something bigger than me, nothing stays the same, always changing, just like my mood.
MICHAEL: I feel the very same way about writing. Do you think it's more important that your art, particularly these watercolors, ask questions or answer them?
DANIEL: I think my watercolors ask the questions and at the same time give you the possibility of an answer, like a hint toward the answer.
MICHAEL: Thanks Daniel. This has been fun. www.danielpeci.com.