I moved to Milwaukee in 2005 went to MIAD, MATC, then graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2013 with a BFA - Print and Narrative Forms. While in school Traveling the Midwest hand-etching artwork on granite headstones: DanAtkinsonEtchings. From granite I moved to customizing bricks for weddings and commemorative events. Cream city brick provided me a connection to Milwaukee's history and community. With printmaking, graphic design, and sculpture I continue the path of discovering buildings, learning history, engaging the community and unlocking the aesthetic and functional potential of brick.
I use cream city bricks to discovery and celebrate Milwaukee's history.
Each brick as well as each print is a single unique item, produced on a mass scale. This relationship drives me to explore the potntial of their relationship.
Various methods are used in hollowing out each piece. Mortar adheres bricks together and Polyurethane is used to seal the inside of each brick. Mulit-purpose water sealer is used on the outside of each brick.
Dan Atkinson Works celebrates building materials of the late 19th century by repurposing bricks from demolished buildings of Milwaukee and Chicago. Both cities during the last quarter of the 1800’s created bricks with the clay from the shores of Lake Michigan and connecting river beds. But with varying mineral deposits each city had their own unique brick. Milwaukee created pale yellow bricks known as Cream City bricks. Chicago created pinkish red bricks, known as Chicago Standard brick, or Chicago Pinks.
Depicting local culture, architecture, and wild life educate me about my environment, while bringing acknowledgement to a rural upbringing, living abroad, and settling in an urban environment.
Dan Atkinson is a conceptual artist exploring the relationship between Man and his environment. and how this relationship is in constant struggle with the existing world. Dan Atkinson is a conceptual artist exploring the relationship between Man and his environment. and how this relationship is in constant struggle with the existing world.
I knew of cream city brick but hadn't worked with it until a friend asked me to make a personalized brick as a wedding gift. From there I began to explore the history and artistic potential of cream city bricks. First I used bricks as printing tools, carving them to make relief prints. Working with so many bricks I began to appreciate each brick for its uniqueness. Each brick had different density, different weathering, cracks, pollutants, various forms of aggregate, even fingerprints...(still writing)