Pittsburgh Artist Registry

Daniel Bates

Daniel Bates

Artistic Category Artist
Career Level Hobbyist
Experienced With

For most of my life, nature has drawn me closely to its imaginative shapes -- its weathered, time-worn revisions of color, reductive textures and patterns, seasonal perspectives, light. Nature likewise captivates me in the amusing, artistic way it transforms man’s nature-defying handi­work back into itself.

 God’s forces of nature always seem to reduce milled lumber into gray, pitted, worm-eaten canvases, for instance. Or patented hay rakes and broken-down steel trucks into rusted sculptures embedded over time in tree trunks and left on display for the creatively curious.

 I have been collecting those shapes in their various stages of beautiful decay since childhood. But then I can’t help but apply a vivid, sometimes unconventional imagination, along with glue, nails, paper maché, rusted fencing, car parts, colorful acrylic paint, and a layered idea, to create mixed-media works that uniquely showcase the quaint aesthetic of nature’s hand.

 At the same time, my art tends to reflect my career as a writer. Manipulating words, I always have dwelt in juxtaposition, irony, paradox, double entendré, layered meaning and whimsy in my prose and poetry. I carry those same elements, and sometimes the actual words, into my explora­tions of art in an attempt to illustrate a poem, make a statement or simply amuse with representative shapes and bold, colorful strokes.

 My goal is to coax unusual combinations of nature and innovation into illustrations that take on quirky lives of their own. Suddenly, an eroded, twisted, upended tree root becomes a comical nose. Or God. Old tail-light fixtures become gaping mouths. Bedsprings become ideas, tongues, movement. And rusted fencing is applied to frame, support, hold in or keep out.

 My art deliberately goes against the grain of con­vention. It’s a quiet, perhaps subtle, creative rebellion designed to nudge or provoke. It’s primi­tive and sometimes humorous. It also will prove complex and even a bit simplistically disturbing when one begins to think about its underlying message. Each portrays a fleeting “aha” moment accentuated in wood, metal, paper and bright color, with a hint of light – of hope.

 A Pittsburgh native, I gradu­ated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in English Writing in 1986 and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management in 2015. I have spent the last 33 years as a journalist, editor, corporate communications leader and strategist.




Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15241



  • Sculpture
  • Found object
  • Mixed-media
  • Poetry


  • Acrylic paint
  • Assemblage
  • Blank verse
  • Conceptual
  • Figurative
  • Metal
  • Nature
  • Recycling /green
  • Representational
  • Text
  • Wood
  • Abstract
  • Alternative
  • Collage
  • Land/earth
  • Narrative