www.danielsroka.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / v/f 815-301-8836 / 26 blackberry lane, morristown, nj 07960
My art begins from the very familiar — fallen leaves, broken sticks, melting ice, weathered bark, and old shells.
I make my art from the fallen leaves, sticks, and seeds (called "litterfall") that I find everywhere around my suburban home. Whenever I am walking the dog or waiting for the kids' school bus, I am constantly picking up interesting leaves I find in my path.
I am not looking for picture-perfect leaves, but ones with some character. Most leaves I pick up get immediately dropped back down to the ground, but some are worth more thought. I hold on to these as I continue walking, twirling them in my fingers and getting a sense of their personality. A rare few make it all the way back home to my studio.
Back in my studio I keep a constantly changing collection of leaves, stashed in boxes and sorted on tables. I slowly work my way through this collection, taking my time to consider each piece more carefully. I'm looking to see if the potential I originally noticed is still there. Some leaves I save for years before working with them, while others get "recycled" back to the outdoors almost immediately.
When one leaf grabs my interest so much I can't put it down, I begin to photograph it. I'll spend hours, days, or sometimes even months working with a single leaf. I built a custom workspace — part homemade, part recycled, and part high-tech — that combines creative freedom with precise control. This allows me to explore the leaf from every possible perspective, as slowly and carefully as I need.
Like a sculptor unlocking the hidden potential of a stone, I use my camera to shape this raw material into compositions of dimension, texture, and motion. I work until I no longer see just a leaf, but discover something compelling beneath the surface. Even after almost 20 years of creating these natural abstracts, I am still in awe of the creative potential of a humble leaf.