About the Artist

In 1988, I was told that I had 18 months to live. Now, after 27 years of not being dead, I want to know why.

Daniel Dallabrida is a story-teller, una racconta favole. He moves freely between the realms of process, ritual, installation and artifact. Using sculpture, photography, words, sound and social gatherings, he encourages people to experience the dimensional, winding current of the tales he tells.

If horror is the foreground of wonder and death is the background of life, then community is the foundation that allows us to persevere.

Dallabrida’s primary purpose in making art and telling stories is to create a new means for identifying and building community. For him, artists possess the skill and bear the responsibility to round out each moment of life: uncovering subtlety in the face of awe, permanence in the face of erasure, ambiguity in the face of clarity, wonder in the face of horror. Art identifies the cracks in the foundations, he says. It illuminates the scaffolding of possibility.

Like many of my generation, I abandoned my imagined life-path to confront the AIDS epidemic. We did what was necessary to survive. We confronted failing systems and created new paradigms to protect our own. After decades of helping others find their voice it was time for me to uncover ways to express myself.

In 2003, Dallabrida closed the door on a professional career and moved to Italy in pursuit of the art, culture and language of his heritage. There he apprenticed at a family foundry near Venice. Then, attracted by the Tuscan tradition of anti-Fascist ceramic sculpture, he studied at Studio Arts College International in Florence, before completing an MFA at California College of the Arts in 2011.

Through my art flow the tributaries of Yves Klein and Derek Jarman’s blue spectacles; Homer’s eternal tales; Umberto Eco’s neo-medieval mind; Lucio Fontana’s inaudible explosions; Nelson Mandela’s mountainous pride; Mimmo Rotalla’s relentless excavations; Rwanda’s savage genocide; Rumi’s laughter; and the ground as warmed by Giuseppe Penone’s touch.

While Dallabrida favors the materials of the earth and the phenomena of physics, neither wild nor urban land is his subject. Found or manipulated sites, clay, water, iron and wood, and the body are co-conspirators, fusing to build the backgrounds and characters for the stories he tells. By combining material and story, Daniel Dallabrida creates new means to see the old, and uses old means to discover the new.

“I will tell you something about stories…
They aren’t just entertainment. Don’t be fooled.
They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.”
– L.M. Silko, Ceremony



View/print complete CV (PDF)


  • California College of the Arts, MFA (Interdisciplinary), San Francisco, CA. 2011
  • Studio Arts College International, Fine Arts Post-baccalaureate, Florence, IT. 2008
  • Barro Clay / Anderson Ranch Art Center, Talavera Technique, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. 2017—2018
  • Foundry Artistica Ferro di Ervas, Apprenticeship, Preganziol, Veneto, IT. 2006
  • Universitá per Stranieri, Perugia. IT, 2005
  • Portland State University, Intercultural Communications, BS, Portland, OR. 1982

Select Artist Residencies

  • LASALLE College of the Arts, Visiting Artist, Singapore. 2018
  • Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto/University of Ideas, Resident Artist, Turin, IT. 2016
  • Kala Art Institute,  Installation Media Artist-in-Residence, Berkeley, CA. 2016
  • Kala Art Institute,  Digital Media Artist-in-Residence, Berkeley, CA. 2014
  • Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Artist-in-Residence, Snowmass Village, CO. 2013
  • LaSalle University, Tropical Lab Residency, Singapore. 2012
  • Anderson Ranch Art Center, Immersive, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Snowmass Village, CO. 2012
  • International Centre of Ceramic Art, Certaldo, IT. 2007

Select Exhibitions, Installations & Performances

  • Italian Cultural Institute San Francisco Artists for Amatrice, San Francisco, CA. 2018
  • NCECA Anderson Ranch Legacy: Mentoring Artistic Excellence, Kansas City, MO. 2016
  • The British Grocery, Back at You (solo), San Francisco, CA, 2016
  • Patton-Malott Gallery, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Building the Noble Ruin (solo), Snowmass Village, CO. 2015
  • Kala Art Institute, Artists’ Annual, Berkeley, CA, 2015, 2013
  • Kala Art Institute, Bridges SGCI Conference, Berkeley, CA. 2014
  • Visual AIDS Gallery, I Am My Own Landscape, New York, NY. 2014
  • Darin Klein and Friends, Box of Books, Vol. VII, LA Art Book Fair. Los Angeles, CA. 2014
  • Kala Art Institute, Artists’ Annual, Berkeley, CA. 2014
  • Access Institute, Spectrum, San Francisco, CA, 2014. 2013
  • ARC Gallery, Structure, San Francisco, CA (catalogue). 2013
  • Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Dead Still (performance), Snowmass Village, CO. 2013
  • Visual AIDS Gallery, some thoughts / for you, New York, NY. 2013
  • Singapore Institute of Contemporary Art, Land, Singapore, 2012
  • Magnet, In Now’s black waters burn the stars of Then (solo), San Francisco, CA. 2012
  • Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, Traversata / Crossings (solo), Oakland, CA
  • Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, (Odds Are) 13-1, San Francisco, CA. 2011
  • Capp Street Project, Hammarby! (w/ Kris Martin), San Francisco, CA (catalogue), 2011
  • Artists + Writers, Ouroboros, San Francisco, CA. 2011
  • Resnick Estate, Achilles Dead is Achilles Still, Healdsburg, CA. 2010
  • Silverman Gallery, Mirror Piece, Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 2010
  • Concannon Greenberg, Every Place in the Heavens is Paradise, Truckee, CA. 2009
  • TeAmo, Tra le Mie Braccia Dormirai, Venice, IT. 2009
  • Festa Internazionale della Ceramica, Vigilante, Montelupo Fiorentino, IT. 2008
  • Palazzo delle Esposizioni and Museo San Giovanni de’ Fiorentini, L’Arte Dell’Uovo di Pasqua, Rome, IT. 2008
  • Casellio Ovest di Porta Venezia, Mannucci International Finalists (w/catalogue), Milan, IT. 2008
  • La Corte Arte Contemporanea, Jumping into the Deep End, Florence, IT. 2008
  • Chiostro di San Francisco, Mannucci International Scuplture, Chiostro di San Francisco, Arcevia, IT. 2008
  • Studio Arts College International, Traversata: Le mie conversazioni con il Fiume Arno (installation, performance), Incisa Valdarno, IT. 2007-2008
  • Galleria Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Studente d’arte della giuria, Florence, IT. 2007

Select Grants & Honors

  • Visual Aid Grantee, San Francisco, CA. 2008-16
  • Visual AIDS Grantee, New York, NY. 2013
  • Brooks Fellowship Fund Grantee, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO. 2009-13
  • Board of Trustee Grant, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO. 2012
  • Dennis Leon and Christin Nelson Award, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA. 2012

Additional Experience

  • LASALLE College of the Arts, Artist Talk, Singapore. 2018
  • Sacramento City College, Artist Talk/Studio Visits, Sacramento, CA. 2017
  • Graduate Studio Advisor, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA. 2015-17
  • California College of the Arts, Student Mentor, San Francisco, CA. 2012-17
  • Studio Arts College International, Artist Talk/Studio Visits, Florence, IT. 2013, 2016
  • California College of the Arts, Visiting Artist, Environmental Art, San Francisco, CA. 2012
  • Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, corporate giving consultant, established medical infrastructure for HIV care in Rwanda and South Africa. Oakland, CA. 2001-2003
  • Dallabrida & Associates,  founder and CEO of a strategic consulting firm which introduced a new model of collaboration, changing the way that patient communities and pharmaceutical companies interact. D&A served as bridge, translator and guide for successful communications / collaborations and strategic programs with HIV/AIDS activists, governments, NGOs, and pharmaceutical companies. San Francisco, CA. 1990-2003