While much has been said about America’s increasingly consumeristic materialism and vice-ridden society, artist Daniel Allen Cohen has channeled our reality into award-winning, groundbreaking art with his Periodic Table of Addiction.
A mult-faceted artist located in Los Angeles, California, Cohen possesses an innate engaging charisma displayed through his artwork and focuses on commenting on societal issues through unique perspectives - drawing the observer in and forcing them to leave behind their preconceived notions. No matter the theme his project centers around, Cohen’s pieces vividly come alive and lure the viewer into interacting with not just the art but the ideas and issues it represents.
In his most recent piece, the Periodic Table of Addiction, Cohen explores “American Vices'' with sardonic humor, incredible wit, and insightful cultural commentary. With his art, Cohen tries to “create a vessel for people to question our culture’s societal values that the media (and social media) has created.”
In this work, Cohen creates a veritable periodic table featuring “substances” such as Gold, Money, Bitcoin, Shopping, and Gambling with humorous and scientific “active ingredients” and noted asides within each substance’s box. True to his boundary-pushing style, the piece also delves into more abstract addictions such as “Entrepreneur” and “Time is Money,” proving Cohen a veritable artist by presenting these nebulous cultural conceptions into punctuated and crystallized forms for viewers to interact and engage with while provoking their thoughts.
This piece continues to amaze audiences and critics alike, revealing our comical cultural obsession with these substances and conceptions with Cohen’s signature societal commentary. For the artist, this piece isn’t framed as a preacher of moralistic values:
“The message that my work sends is open to interpretation. I don’t aim for the message to encourage or discourage the viewer’s options. My goal is for the work to be thought provocative and have the viewer question their personal and societal values” (Daniel Allen Cohen).
A true creative, Cohen’s artistic roots twist back into his childhood. He says art has “been a calling of mine forever,” and that “I’ve always been making art. Those were my favorite classes in school as a kid. I struggled in some of the more traditional classes, but art has always motivated me and continues to do so.” He made his first entrance into the professional art scene when he launched his own clothing company and began working at an art gallery, gaining invaluable sales experience and developing life-long relationships which would serve him well once he began shopping out his own pieces.
His latest exhibit, the Periodic Table of Addiction has performed tremendously since its creation in 2015. Representing his alter-ego, Cohen notes that the piece does not represent a personal struggle with addiction or substance abuse but rather an honest and vulnerable perspective on consumption in society; this pairs with a twist of humor which disarms viewers and allows them to deeply explore the themes at work unencumbered by cultural conditioning.