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Bill Daniel

Bill Daniel
Moniker Art Fair Featured Artist

Texas-born, San Francisco exiled, and confirmed tramp, Bill Daniel continues to experiment with survivalism and bricolage in his attempts to record and report on the various social margins he finds himself in. Currently based on the Texas gulf coast, Daniel divides his time between Texas and touring.

Daniel’s work has received awards from Creative Capital, Film Arts Foundation, The Pioneer Fund, Texas Filmmaker Production Fund, the R & B Feder Charitable Foundation, and The Western States Media Alliance.

For Moniker Art Fair 2017, Bill Daniel presents The Girl on the Train in the Moon, a mobile 2-channel video installation.

The Girl in the Train in the Moon is a mobile, 2-channel video installation created by Bill Daniel in 2001, commissioned for Widely Unknown, a group show at Ditch Projects to honor the late Margaret Kilgallen.  The piece was conceived as a hobos’ campfire site— a place for storytelling and bonding between travelers. In the center is a campfire—actually a screen of projected flickering images of freight trains and the ever-moving landscape. Above is a full moon, reflecting images of the tramps and boxcar artists and their secret drawings. The footage, black and white 16mm and super 8 film, and the audio, were culled from the then-in-progress documentary film, Who is Bozo Texino?  Daniel wished to create a space to experience the oral and pictographic graffiti culture of rail workers and hobos, where fact and myth are spun together and nicknames and tags become characters that take on a life of their own.

Says Daniel about making this installation: “I had been working for about 12 years towards making a film on hobo moniker culture, but the project was kind of stuck. It wasn’t clear what sort of film it was supposed to be, I had all kinds of structural and narrative problems with the film that seemed unsolvable. So when the opportunity came to make a piece for Margaret’s tribute show at Ditch Projects I figured this was a chance to make something out of all this footage that wouldn’t be bound by a linear movie structure. It was liberating, and the process of making and touring with the piece really helped me see how the film could finally be resolved. Basically by not resolving anything!

Once the installation was figured out I knew that its ideal exhibition would be on tour, kind of punk style. The piece was simple to set up and break down, and took up a minimal amount of space in the van. So my partner, Portland filmmaker Vanessa Renwick, and I organized a massive tour we called the Lucky Bum Film Tour, kind of a cross-country DIY art film and video exhibition for non-art spots. The first part of program was about 45 minutes of Vanessa’s films followed by a Q&A, by then it would be dark outside and the audience would go out on the loading dock, or a vacant lot next door, or a rooftop, and my campfire installation would run. Then everything got crammed back into the van and the next night we were in a new town. Just trying to live the punk dream…”

Image: Photograph of Bozo Texino by Bill_Daniel,  8 x 10 inches