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Analog collage artist Kendrick Daye uses positive reflection as motivation

Kendrick Daye

Kendrick Daye, an analog collage artist and art director based in Harlem, prefers walking sideways to his goals. Straight feels, perchance, too restraining, reliant and, daresay, typical. He, on the other hand, is versatile, independent, and in a recent conversation with a friend, he chose for himself an even more sound descriptor: resilient. 


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my work is in the latest collage focused issue of @projectcalmmagazine 🖤🖤🖤

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Analog collage, the second term (collage) coined by artists Georges Barque and Pablo Picasso,  reemerged in the early twentieth century, though it had been around for hundreds of years before.

It stands for glued productions of originally disassembled forms — namely,  paints, handmade paper, magazines, newspaper clippings, parts of texts, and photographs. But of course, it entails much more than sheerly putting together disparate objects. It, essentially, speaks of modernism and the break from classical artistic conventions.

Daye attributes his tendency to zag when others zig to his horoscope sign, as he is a Cancer and most Cancers apparently like to take the seemingly less clear-cut paths. To hear that perspective from him is somewhat inexplicably refreshing, and even incredibly nuanced.

Maybe it’s because he has about him an air of modesty and as paradoxical as it may sound,  a mature naïveté, or rather an intricate self-awareness, that is lackluster in some other young creatives.

That is, he looks for his inspiration in the world outside of himself, but he knows that to the most complicated of life’s questions, the kind that cannot be precisely verbalized, he should not look anywhere but within himself for answers.

And while those responses can inform his artistic ideas and subsequent projects, he should not, too, expect his fanbase to process his artwork in the same ways that he does. So, when things don’t go as planned, he does not submit to regret; instead, he is filled with appreciation for what has passed and what is to come.

“I am at a point now where I can look at projects on which I didn’t think I did a good job. I am not that kind of artist that gets the chance to muse,” he said. “The way I approach everything now is very methodical. And it has been like that for the past couple of years.”

To be exact, for the past seven years Daye has been living out his dreams — in New York. Originally from Miami, Florida, he always had a wish, most memorably during college at Morehouse in Atlanta, to one day be part of the multifaceted city scene. That milestone was worthy of rejoicing all on its own.

 It’s just that constantly being on the “go-go-go,” as he puts it, doesn’t allow him ample time to reflect on all that he has accomplished so far, and he doesn’t take for granted the moments when he does get to sit and reminisce. Daye remembers two times last year where he got to do so, and what he found whilst doing so was a sense of heightened joy, the kind that is so near to him.

Starting with sketches and cut-out magazine forms, looking retro and futuristic, and music lyrics (like, “he ate my heart,” from Lady Gaga’s song “Monster,” which recently inspired one of his pieces) all at once blasting in his mind, Daye sees his ideas and follows through with them to his own accord.

There’s no one to whom he looks up for approval but himself. It’s all like a magic show, really, except it’s one that doesn’t whisk away the clothing to reveal a  trick, for there’s no need. The only trick is perspective. 


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made this collage for @afropunk’s 2019 “year on queerness” piece. 🖤🖤🖤

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Being black and queer has given him a capacity for understanding his diverse audience. “I think my work speaks to anybody who looks at it,” said Daye, who admits that whenever he is at a show or at a gallery where his work is displayed, he never responds directly to: “So, what is this piece about?” He always flips the question as, for him, art is reflexive and never one-dimensional, never definitive even when the subject matter appears “obvious.”

“[My work] brings me in contact with my community constantly. I am not a very talkative person. I talk in pictures. That’s how I express myself,” says Daye.

“For me, it’s a way to connect with people. And it’s a way to connect with myself. Anything I feel,  I can put it into a picture. And even if I don’t feel better because of it, I know that at least I’ve gotten it out of me. And even if I return to that feeling many times, I know that at least I said what I wanted to say about it. It’s a way for me to know myself, for other people to know me, and for me to know other people.”

To create is not merely something that he is driven towards; it has long become a living-and-breathing necessity. His artworks are fragments of himself and of the headspace and physical environment that he occupies when he makes them.


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#kobe 🖤🖤🖤 for @equalityequation

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They are vivid and tangible memories of every part of his journey, of which he is particularly proud because, though not everything has gone as seamlessly as he would have ideally liked, the serendipitous discovery of a dream, in whatever form, right before your eyes is much more beautiful than living up to an expectation.

“Be ok with whatever your journey is,” says Daye, adding that art for him is the only “place” where he can be himself, and so it’s the only part of him that he is unwilling to compromise, especially if that means maintaining a bold independence and following, always, his gut feeling.

“When you have a goal and you want something so bad, you get so stuck in how it’s [supposed to] look like and you know every detail and everything, and you end up missing out on the goals that have already been achieved,” Daye explained.

“It’s never going to look exactly how you want it to, but sometimes it’s right there in your face.”