Born in 1965 in Chicago, Daniel Carlson has been a musician, songwriter, photographer and film/video maker since the mid-1980s. Following a brief stint studying film and photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked as a musician, playing bass guitar and writing with various bands. In 1988, he moved to New York City, where he continued working in music, eventually producing a series of albums under his own name which have received widespread critical acclaim. His 2010 album Aviary Jackson (Folkwit Records, UK), produced by Grammy winning musician Michael Leonhart, topped numerous best-of lists for the year. His 2014 release Me You You Me (Folkwit Records, UK), was met with a similar reaction. He is currently preparing his third album for an early 2017 release.
As a videomaker, Carlson was heavily involved in the early days of public access cable TV in Chicago. He produced and directed dozens of short programs and was one of the creators (and first host) of The Friday Club, a live weekly hour that became one of public access television’s longest running shows. Carlson re-engaged with video making again in the early 2010s, initially to make promotional videos - music videos - for his own musical releases. That work in turn led to an ongoing collaboration with the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Meshell N’Degeocello, which produced a series of music videos for her album Comet Come To Me, as well as a series of video installations for Ndegeocello’s 2015 European and US tours.
Carlson’s interest in photography began at the age of five with the purchase of a used Kodak Brownie camera. The interest developed further through this early studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and eventually led him to pursue a degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he obtained his BA in photography in 2014. Working mostly with large format film, Carlson has concentrated on portraiture, mostly notably with two bodies of work: the first showing artists, musicians, and writers in their work environments; the second documenting teenagers through pictures of their rooms. This latter series has been featured on the website Buzzfeed and in the magazine Artefact (UK), which published an extensive piece on the project.
Carlson lives in New York City and Amsterdam (NL).