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Who We Are

Fiercely Curious is an online art & design collective based in Brooklyn.

We believe in connecting directly with the artists and designers.

Dael Oates





About Dael Oates
Coming from Sydney, Australia, Dael Oates is a photographer and film maker. Dael travels the world for his projects and constantly explores the varied landscapes of the world around him. His photography channels an abstract view of the urban and natural spaces that surround us.

Dael studied art and photography at the Queensland College of Art and now tells stories through moving images, writing and directing films both for art and for commerce. His photographic works have mostly been about an observation of the world and the intersection of nature and the built environment, through a twisted... read more
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In conversation with Dael Oates

Erin: What are you curious about?

Ha! Wow, that's a difficult question to find a straight-forward answer to. Well, it all depends on the week really but in general: I’m curious about art and design. I’m curious about film and story. Right now I’m writing a feature film so I’m curious about that story and the characters in this world I’ve imagined. And I’m curious about how I can get it made! I’m curious about cooking great food. I’m curious about music and I’m curious about how to be an awesome dad because I have three kids and should probably make sure I’m on top of at that!
Erin: Describe your art and describe your process.

Dael: I’m interested in and truly love experimenting with lots of different ideas, concepts and visual aesthetics. So my work spans a very broad pallet from highly art directed portraiture, to abstract landscapes, to (in the case of the power lines series) photographic design and graphic compositions. I also work in film so storytelling is often a major part of the process too.

Erin: Tell us about your Points and Skylines series that we’re showcasing and how they came to be.

Dael: It was the moment I picked up a camera that I became artistically interested in power lines, and the way they frame or graphically segment our skies and environment. These objects weren’t placed there for aesthetic choices, it is pure industrialization and has essentially become crucial to our existence as a species. At certain angles, at certain times of the day, with the perfect light, these objects intersect with the environment and become beautiful. It is this precise moment that I find I am drawn to capturing. Skylines I shot in Shanghai, China and Points I shot in Budapest, Hungary. While I was exploring Budapest, I noticed the lights and wires that ran through the streets, I looked up and discovered this intersection of graphic shapes that fit perfectly together at one particular angle. Each light became a marker or ‘Point’ where this beautiful graphic moment occurred. These photographs were shot very early in the morning, before the sun was too high. I wanted to use the soft light that bounced around between the buildings to shape the structures so they wouldn’t be too contrasty and with direct sunlight creating another compositional element.

Erin: Do you have a preference in shooting in digital vs. film? Why?

Dael: Basically I don’t really have a preference. The idea is the only pure thing in any work, not the medium.

Erin: You are a film director. How does this differ from your photography? Does one inform the other?

Dael: I was a photographer as well as a designer before I was filmmaker so photography and design originally informed my path to directing. Filmmaking is an extremely collaborative medium. It requires many skill sets, crafts, different artists and non artists to create something, so the final result is a work built by many hands, sometimes a small army of people, working together. Consequently, often when I retreat back to photography, I like to strip it all down so it’s just me and the camera and the observation. Photography is the place where I can explore and experiment, make mistakes, discover things and not need to answer to anyone! It’s my happy place.

Erin: Where do you pull your inspiration from?


Erin: Along with a video short that you created on a day in the life of Chelsea Miller, knife maker of Fiercely Made, you also photographed her tools. Tell us what tracking and archiving of artisans tools means to you.

Dael: Artists and Makers tools have always fascinated me. These seemingly inanimate objects, when in the hands of a creator can be incredibly powerful. I first started this interest with my grandfather’s tools. He had this incredible work shed and was a man who was always making or fixing something. He was also an artist and a photographer. When he died and my Uncles and Aunts were about to sell the house, I wanted to preserve his work shed somehow. So I did this study or portrait of his tools and objects within that space. Naturally when I filmed Chelsea’s process I wanted to do a study of her tools as well and she generously let me.
Erin: Coming from Australia, how has living and working in Brooklyn and NYC influenced your work?

Dael: I love the creative energy here. The calibre of the creative people here is amazing and I find there is a very present ‘doing’ culture in NYC that is infectious.

Erin: If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Dael: Time travel.

Erin: What is your budgetless dream project?

Dael: Having a room at MOMA for a month.