David Datuna is so excited to create his art that gets up at 4am in order to get to his studio. And his enthusiasm is extremely infectious.
Like hundreds of thousands of others, Datuna escaped the USSR during the cold war for ‘cultural and artistic freedom’. He grew up in totalitarian Georgia, where any appearance of difference was discouraged violently (his father got arrested 7 times for listening to Elvis…), and ended up in hyper-liberal downtown New York. He now makes vibrant pop art sculptures of flags (Jasper Johns 2.0), and collage-portraits.
His work’s are totally fascinating: in Mr. President: Legacy he made an outline of Barack Obama made of tiny pictures of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr all covered in various broken glasses with different plus and minus focal lenses – representing the love and hate for Obama. He is also an early adopter of Google Glass and surrounds himself with nerds (loveable nerds) who help him to create a hyperreal augmented reality for his audiences.
Sadly, Datuna was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and has to negotiate chemotherapy into his 15-hour work days. But this doesn’t stop him from jetting off to the enormous Basal art show/market in Miami to debut his intriguing techno-art, Viewpoint of Billions.
The only problem with being cutting edge with technology is the inevitable collision of somewhere between Moore’s and Sontag’s laws – that technology becomes redundant so quickly that it becomes a bit…camp. Google Glass was an impressively futuristic game changer, which excited large parts of the Internet, but somehow already seems like old news.
Director Brian Bayerl has matched the tone of the film with the art of its subject: it’s playful, bright and proudly pop. It is easy to watch, regardless of your interest in modern art, and has an overwhelming sense of good solid fun. It is said that Datuna is one of the most collectible artists in the world at the moment, but it seems like he also the most fun – the rarest of combinations and a real achievement.
Datuna: Portrait of America won the overall best feature award at Raindance 2015