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My Artist Statement and Bio

I was recently featured on ABC Action News (2021) ! Thank you, Sean Daly and Gasparilla Festival of the Arts!




Incorporating fun is essential to my art-making processes. Paying attention to human experiences is inspiring to my art-making soul. 


Artist Statement

Narrative art is art that tells stories; my narrative sculptures tell stories of lived moments. From food to social issues, inspirations abound for me. As an immigrant in the US who has studied linguistics, art history, and criminology, my art uses metaphors to respond to injustices and to explore the mundane, for example racism and the eggs I had for breakfast. Transcending the limitation of words, the expressions in my three-dimensional work encompass humor, intellect, and a variety of emotions.




Daniel Lai, a self-taught artist, is known to have very innovative art making skills. Collectors from around the world frequently acquire his art. He has been published in numerous books and magazines and has earned several awards nationally and internationally. 

The following are some of the awards that he has earned:
Best in Craft -2014 Piedmont Park Art Festival (Atlanta, GA.)
Best of Category -2015 Millennium Arts Festival (Chicago, IL.)
Best of Show -2015 Evanston Art Festival (Evanston, IL.)
Best of Show -2015 Artclectic (Nashville, TN.)
Best of Show -2015 Artclectic endowed by Tennessee Craft (Nashville, TN.)
Best In Show - 2018 ArtsQuest (Sandestin, FL.)
Best 3D -2018 Old FL Celebration of Arts (Cedar Key, FL.)
Best 3D -2019 Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Miami, FL.)  

Daniel has been juried into many exhibits. A few examples are the 2008 solo show “ICON: An Exploration of Western Culture,” Estel Gallery, Nashville, TN., 2007 public solo “Burnt Portraits Public Art Exhibit,” Arcade Building, Nashville, TN., and “Faculty Show,” Todd Gallery, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. in 2008.

Daniel, of Chinese descent, was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He moved to the United States in 2000. He was granted US citizenship through extraordinary ability in field of fine art and arts management in 2014. He has a BA in Linguistics (2003), an MA in Art Studies/Art History (2006) from Montclair State University, and a PhD in Sociology with a concentration in criminology (2015) from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.


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