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Q&A with Daniel Brown

Artist, creative technologist

My name is Daniel Brown. I basically have two jobs that share have a lot of crossover but have two distinct end products and clients.

I work as a creative technologist within the design industry working on websites, applications and digital installations.

And the other half of the time I work as an artist, creating digital artworks by commission.

They both involve the same thing – applying technology in a creative manner. On the day-to-day, my core skill is that of a programmer, or a creative coder to use the current fashionable title. I’m always in front of the computer in any case. I don’t use pencils and paintbrushes.

Software / hardware 

I tend to use Windows for the simple reason that you can buy cutting-edge graphics cards as and when they come out. I do prefer the look of Apple products – I have a Mac, iPhone and iPad – but I tend to use them more for consuming media etc, rather than raw development.

In terms of software I have the complete Adobe creative cloud suite, and for straightforward programming Sublime Text is the absolute love of my life. Since the latest version came out, I simply can’t imagine how I got through the tedium of using any other text editor/development tool. Its multiple cursors work the way I think and make coding almost a visual choreography.

I use quite a few open source tools, for example Eclipse for Java development, and most of my utilities – FTP etc – I try to use open source where I can.

I have to mention Dropbox, it makes working with multiple computers, partners and clients so seamless, and makes online backup a doddle.

oh, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking! I should probably include that one since I’m using it to write this. The first 10 versions were atrocious, but the current version – when used with a high-quality wireless headset (Plantronics) is really accurate.

Ideal work environment

I’m actually physically disabled so my work environment isn’t as exciting as you might imagine. I don’t have lots of classic expensive furniture lying around. Just have a large desk with two screens on it, some nice Bose speakers, a SAD light and the pile of papers on it!

Behind me though I have some shelves with some bits of digital antiquity, some interesting design pieces (read: toys), and books featuring my work. I like to keep those nearby to cheer me up on grey days.

Work inspiration 

At the absolute core, I would say geometry and colour. I have always had an almost autistic fascination/obsession with things that either have obvious geometric order, or things that initially appear to have almost no geometric order, but which in fact do. So I love both minimalist architecture and ancient trees! (Try and square that circle).

With regards colour, I love seeing unusual and rare combinations of shade and pattern. That’s why have always loved photography rather than graphics.

I don’t expect many people will guess what I mean by those answers, but it is why I see beauty in flowers, and why flowers are the subject of most of my personal work.

Artists you admire most 

It may sound a bit too obvious an answer but definitely Nick Knight. There’s a reason why I have worked with him for 10 years. I admire his endeavour to always do something new.

In my industry - Golan Levin, for being one of the most intelligent people I know and yet one of the most down-to-earth.

If I have to pick a ‘traditional’ artist I’ll say Alexander Calder.