A Profile of Artist Darian Knapp

Posted on:

< < Back to

2020 Athens High School graduate Darian Knapp says that taking photos is just “what they do.”

Coming from a family with a strong background in sports, Knapp first found their footing in photography by taking athletics photos when they joined the yearbook course early on in their middle school career.

“I always wanted to be an artist. Art classes were always my favorite,” said Knapp, who started Ohio University’s commercial photography program this fall. Knapp’s work was also the last to be showcased at Arts West before the facility’s closure in the wake of the temporary layoff of the Arts West program specialist in early August.

The exhibition, which was entitled “What Are You Looking At?” was cut several weeks short due to the closure, after months of Knapp and former Arts West program specialist attempting to reschedule the exhibition after its initial scheduled display, which was supposed to take place in the spring. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the exhibition couldn’t take place until Beveridge had developed protocol for exhibitions to be open at Arts West on an by-appointment basis.

One of Darian Knapp’s works that was a part of their exhibition at Arts West entitled “What Are You Looking At?” (Courtesy of the artist)

Knapp said the exhibition showcased their work from throughout their high school photography career as well as an artistic expression of identity.

“I mean, other people may not see it [in the exhibition] but I see the progression of my going from photojournalism to commercial [photography], but still you see similarities and the color palettes and everything I use,” Knapp said. “At the beginning of this year, I started to really get into doing some really bizarre, strange, very loud and bright shoots. A lot of them deal with seeing people represented in different ways and identity.”

Identity is a concept that Knapp said they have been exploring for quite some time. They said everything from the models they choose to work with to the way they choose to frame a shot often expresses a certain expression on or statement about identity.

Knapp said exploring the profound concepts surrounding identity was relatively easy because so many of the models in Knapp’s work are also their friends.

“It’s very easy to relay that sort of artistic thought process to them,” said Knapp. “And a lot of people are very good at understanding what I mean to produce that vision.”

Athens High School had resources for students interested in photography that Knapp will not be able to access this semester due to the virtual nature of Ohio University’s current plan in response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, Knapp has focused on meditating on their own identity, producing a series of self-portraits and portraits of their sister. This was partially informed by the fact that social distancing guidelines make it impossible for Knapp to engage with models during photographic shoots the way they did pre-COVID.

“I really like portraiture, just it’s hard to interact with people and be around people and costume them and do their makeup and everything while still maintaining a good distance and whatnot — or finding people that are willing to go out and do things,” Knapp said.

Knapp learned some profound lessons about themselves in the creation of their self portraits.

“It showed me that I need to be a little less critical of myself and my work and everything,” Knapp said. “I learned that very fast, and again, with the whole theme of identity and whatnot, I got to have a little more fun with that in terms of seeing myself that way rather than just putting that theme in my art.”

You can follow Knapp on Instagram at @knippidyknappidy.