We’re Daniel and Stacy Tabb.
I was born in Huntsville, AL, and began drawing and painting from a very early age, then studied graphic design and intaglio printmaking in college. My artistic training and professional career have explored every medium, from digital design to technical drawing to website design, and now back to printmaking.
The natural world is a source of endless fascination for me; I’ve spent the last 15 years observing and photographing the diverse wildlife of Florida. My drawing style is typically very realistic, so I constantly strive to push my own limits by delving into various artistic styles, such as the very stylized world of folk art. I always start from a standpoint of realism in my drawings, then work backwards towards the stylized: the pelican *must* be recognizable as a pelican, after all.
In returning again into printmaking, I’ve learned to have a clear path, and know what I want to accomplish from the outset; you cannot just add a shadow with a slightly darker blend of pigment, or lighten up an area with a bit more titanium white. In printmaking, everything must be planned from the start, whether it is positive – in the case a shape or pattern that gets inked – or negative – in the case of a space that is carved out and will not take ink. These work together to form highlights, the lowlights, and the entirety of the piece, and there’s no turning back once carving has started, so the plan must be solid.
The “You Are What You Eat Series” is comprised of multiple species of creatures, each depicted containing their primary food source in place of their scales, feathers, shells, and fur. They were drawn using pencil on paper then transferred to carving blocks via carbon paper. Each was carved and detailed using sharp woodcarving gouges, then inked and printed on fine, archival watercolor paper using professional oil-based relief ink. Select prints were then highlighted using mica-based watercolor paints in shades of gold, copper, and pearl.
The series is very much inspired by Scandinavian and Pacific Northwest styles of folk art, where all negative space is filled, and perspective is very subjective. Geometric shapes take the place of shadows and highlights, and key elements, such as the lightning bolts and mayflies, and are echoed throughout the entire series.
I was born in California, relocated throughout the Midwest and South, reared mostly in Alabama, and spent seven years in the US Navy after high school. Seven years in the Navy took me around the world and back. This was the most formative time of my life as an artist. Traveling all over, meeting new people and cultures, touring the great cities of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, gave me a unique perspective and approach to my ideas of what art is and how to present ideas.
I spent the last ten years working in leather, paper, and occasionally clay. It was a finally-realized trip for my bride to New York City and the Big Five museums that focused my will. I picked up a hammer and chisel, some riffers and a rotary tool, got myself some soapstone and alabaster, and taught myself how to sculpt.
It was my daughter who actually gave a name for the style I was unknowingly following: Brutalism. It made sense, it fit. I have been a man in the wrong century for most of my life, so why not carry that style from the 20th into my sculpture.
I create two main themes in my work:
- One is that I don’t sculpt people…I sculpt emotions.
- The second is a Collection of Uncomfortable Vessels.
We are all just a collection of uncomfortable vessels that carry around our light, our dark, our essence, our mind, and our soul. This collection is a representation of our bodies: those fallible, fleshy meat suits that we guide around hoping to not get injured; as well as the aspirational purity we wish they would be.
They represent hope and fear and loss and joy and not a one of them is very comfortable to take a drink from, but worth it if you can.