Daniel Neemann Skated Into a Creative Career as a Photographer

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You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

Daniel Neeman wakes up early so he can open the Tattered Covered in LoDo, where he passes the morning as a barista. At 2 p.m. he grabs his skateboard and heads to the Denver Skatepark, to skate with friends and sometimes take photographs, adding to his eclectic portfolio. And at night, he'll draw -- continuing a creative career that began when his mother helped open an auto dealership and asked her then-eight-year-old son to design its logo.

See also: Suzanne Sigona Found a Second Career as an Artist After Moving to Colorado

Neemann's first love is skateboarding; today he gets freebies and steep discounts from sponsors in exchange for filming footage. He started drawing graphics at skate parks when he was twelve, and found Photoshop shortly after. "I got into web design, which led to other graphic design type things," says Neemann.

He dropped out of high school when he was sixteen and enrolled in community college, where he studied graphic design until his family relocated to Oregon. The art spark exploded from there, and Neemann began focusing on photography.

"Growing up, I never could get a camera because my mom wouldn't afford it," Neemann says, sharing a story about how a friend stole a Canon A-1 and gave it to him. To this day, Neemann still uses film -- though these days he rarely develops the pictures himself, and likes to tweak everything digitally once it is uploaded.

Keep reading for more from Daniel Neemann. Neemann grew up in Colorado and Wyoming, but also lived for a while in Orange County, and New York was well as Portland. He brought a bit of the Pacific Northwest's melancholic attitude back to Denver with him -- and it's currently hanging at Kaladi Coffee. Many of the photos at Kaladi are from Neemann's first series, Emerald Avenue, shot in Portland and Seattle. There's "a sense of reverie" to the gray-tone pieces, the artist says.

But he also calls the mood "a cop out," and says he's interested in moving on to warm colors that are edgier and more youthful.

"As far as arranging, I don't try to stage anything," adds Neemann. Instead, for a more genuine product, he summons a few friends and starts shooting; most of the pictures end up being tossed. The sessions are always light-hearted, but the subject matter isn't: "I like the idea of visceral artwork, of looking for a core human quality behind things."

Neemann started showing during First Fridays on Santa Fe, when he was living above CHAC and would open his place to the public. He recently moved to Five Points, where you might be able to catch him photographing his next series at the Denver Zine Library. (Neemann likes the elegant, old ballroom that crowns the building where the library is now located.) He also plans to do an exhibition at Scum of the Earth Church soon. For more of Neemann's work, visit his website.

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