The Art Plug Editorial: This Is Addictive
By John Oldani
If you were to stumble upon the private art collection of Wiz Khalifa, Aaron Paul, or Ashton Kutcher, you’d spot art created by Daniel Allen Cohen. Cohen is a multi faceted artist from Los Angeles, California with a flair for commentating on societal issues in unique ways. Often exploring different mediums, Cohen’s projects adapt and evolve with his current focus. Whether he targets addiction, drugs, wealth, or fame, his work is rooted in central themes that urge to be interacted with.
“I like to shed light on some of the truths about ourselves and some of the things that are taboo like drugs,” Cohen said. “But I also I love to make people laugh with the art that I make and to put a smile on their face as they take pictures.”
Cohen’s concise approach to art creation leads to a lifelike final product that often details vices, or the effects of such. The elegance of his work lies in the subtle details inside the frame, or boldly printed on a life size candy bar or sculpture. Depending on the viewer’s interpretation, the spirited commentary will spark some type of conversation, regardless of your standpoint. Cohen’s work is meant to be interacted with and explored down to its core.
His witty take on drugs and addiction has turned many heads in the art world. On social media, Cohen appropriately goes by This Is Addictive (@ThisIsAddictive). Though it is not always about drugs or vices, his commentary hones in on the taboo topics we may sweep under the rug in our daily lives. Everyone has their vices, and This Is Addictive explores that realization through brilliant tongue in cheek commentary.
Sometimes his message is as simple as, “Time is money” displayed by a clock flaunting money signs in place of numbers. Whichever the case, it is undeniable that Cohen has created a brand that initiates conversation through interaction.
Often artists develop a love for art as a hobby as they grow older, but Cohen was born with the urge to create.
“It’s been a calling of mine forever,” he said. “I’ve always been making art. Those were my favorite classes in school growing up. I struggled in some of the traditional classes, but art has always driven me.”
After launching his own clothing line and working in an art gallery, he shifted toward promoting his work at major art shows. From there his sales and exposure skyrocketed to new levels through the relationships he made.
“One of my true keys to success in the art world is networking and building relationships and friendships, that’s everything for me,” he said. “It’s how I’ve been able to be consistent in my growth year after year. These relationships are not specifically directed toward sales, I’m trying to connect with people, give art to people, extend the olive branch, taking care of them if they need something, and however i can be of value to someone else in those relationships is the most important part.”
Cohen humbly boasts a consistent growth in art and sales since 2016.
Creative Process and Impact
Cohen is always exploring new artistic concepts, but he is very particular with his projects. In today’s art world, it is common for an artist to push out hundreds of projects in order to expose their brand to the fullest. Cohen lives by the notion that quality over quantity will lead to more impactful work. He is always looking to do create something that has never been done before, so takes his time in finding the perfect concept.
“Art is at an interesting time because it is hard to find unique or original concepts. I love discovering new concepts through mashups or recycling things in a unique way,” he said. “That outcome becomes something proprietary to my style. Seeing my idea come to life is one of the more exciting parts about my creative process.”
His addictive brand is not only popular on social media, but it has spoken to celebrities, famous personalities, and art collectors all over the world.
“Ashton Kutcher follows me on IG,” Cohen said. “He was introduced to my work from one of his business partners that’s a collector. Like Ashton, both Wiz and Aaron (Paul) were referrals through other collectors of my work. The Getty Museum have one of the largest art collections and three of the family members own my work.”
Dana White, Stephen Ross, Chris Hollod, Cheech Marin, and The Ross Family (owners of the Miami Dolphins) also own work by Cohen, along with thousands of art enthusiasts in touch with his creative wit. Every year Cohen is growing in both reach and sales, but the craziness of success is well worth it for him.
“It’s kind of a roller coaster at this point in the game. It’s a thrill, it’s faced paced, it has its highs and its lows, its peaks and its swirls, but I find myself with all that love and all the craziness, it’s all worth it compared to working a 9 - 5 job. Keeping the dream alive and having a playful heart is definitely my driving force.
Cohen was invited to the critically acclaimed art fair SCOPE Miami Beach in 2016 after being noticed at various shows and Art Basel. It was here where Cohen blossomed on the big stage; not only being accepted, but as the best selling artist at the show.
“The first year I was accepted into SCOPE was one of my proudest accomplishments. Being accepted into one of the premier fairs the first year was a very proud moment for me just being there. I debuted the Periodic Table and the response to that was amazing. The cherry on the cake was being the best selling artist that year my first year, and the numbers were really good as far as sales.”
Riding high on his success at SCOPE Miami Beach, Cohen realized that he could push even harder.
“That led me to put out everything I had in me in the following year to come back and bring it even bigger. I was back to back best selling artist at the gallery,” he said.
Art fairs like SCOPE or Art Basel, gallery exhibitions, and group or solo shows are very important for emerging artists to grow their audience and sales. They provide an intimate experience for local or traveling enthusiasts to enjoy and familiarize themselves with an artist. It is an excellent outlet for artists to release special projects or interact with fans.
“Basel for the art world is like the Superbowl, it gives me and other artists the opportunity to debut and drop something that we’ve been working on. Social media also plays a huge role in exposure nowadays. You have the art fairs and art shows which are a huge aspect to exposing your work, but social media is a digital footprint leaving something behind for people to see.”
Past and Future Projects
Two major projects that Cohen released are the Periodic Table of Drugs and Precious Bars. These two projects are so crucial to the art world that UCLA Art Professor, Lizy Dastin detailed their importance in an analysis. Some of the highlights include:
“In his 2017 series, Periodic Table of Drugs, Cohen addresses this shift and reconstructs the paradigm of elements he sees as possessing value in today’s society: drugs. Using the same grid format of the original table, Cohen parodies the display of elements such as lithium, carbon and magnesium by replacing them with various recreational drugs like LSD, cocaine and marijuana,” (Professor Lizy Dastin).
“In his series, Precious Bars, Cohen hybridizes these cross-generational desires and presents over-sized objects of nostalgia, lust and yearning. To do this, he parodies packaging of iconic chocolate bars that promise sugary treats, slightly altering their text to seduce with promise of wealth instead,” (Professor Lizy Dastin).
Cohen has made a major impact on the art industry in just a few short years, and he will continue to grow as he builds his creative brand. Each project contains a unique element that sets him apart from the rest of the pack with his witty take on social commentary and discussion, and viewers look forward to the interpretation involved.
“People want to see something unique. That’s what has helped me the most in my growth, they see my evolution with each project I put out. I love commenting on our culture. We are living in a fascinating time and art has the ability to subjectively give viewers different feelings or emotions when they look at certain things.”
This Is Addictive fans can look forward to a very special project currently in the works; something very sentimental and personal to both him and his family. More details will come soon, but Cohen was very excited to focus on a project that explores his family’s alluring history.
“I’m working with other photographers for my next project. Photographer in the art world has always been presented in the same way, printed and sandwiched behind glass in a frame. What I want to bring to the photography art world with this new collection is going to be big. Capital letters BIG. I’m so excited for this.”
Cohen’s desire to create thought provoking art is at the forefront of his body of work, and he is rewarded through the unique reactions of his viewers. Creating a dialogue about taboo topics is important in order to initiate some type of change, and Cohen’s work is coiled together with messages that do exactly that.
“Some artists make art because it is who they are,” Cohen said. “They are putting who they are onto their canvases or sculptures...but for me that’s my antithesis. I’m making art for other people, for their own interpretation.”
Check out more of Daniel Allen Cohen’s work @thisisaddictive on Instagram or on his website.
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