Lives and works in Rockville, Maryland
Tell us about yourself, how did you become an artist?
First and foremost, I'd like to thank God for this opportunity of lending my voice to you all at VAST Magazine. I am humbled and look forward to answering your questions to the best of my ability.
My name is Darien Henson and I'm from Rockville, MD. My focus right now is photography, but I've experimented in different realms of art in the past and will continue to do so. My unique journey into becoming the person I am today started with an acceptance that I was void of any desire to pursue anything in my life. For me, I was lost and in a dark place just kind of going through the motions. I knew I didn't want to continue feeling this way and not really knowing what else do about it I prayed. I spent countless nights praying and hoping things would change. Not knowing when or how things would change but just hoping they would. After some time past, events started happening that some would call coincidences but I can confidently call the hand of God. He introduced photography to me giving me a desire and something to pursue but at the same time He filled a void that can only be filled by God. He lead me out of a dark place and into his marvelous light. My art serves as a reflection of how grateful I am for what He did for me during a dark time.
What is your background? and how did it inform the focus of your creative exploration or the medium you're currently working with?
I don't have what you might consider a "formal" background in photography. I didn't go to school to study it, I didn't grow up in a family of photographers and I never really held a job where photography was something I had to learn. My background was failure and experimentation. Learning to be OK with failing while trying new things was and continues to be the cornerstone of my creative approach. I firmly believe that once you accept the fact that the work may not always look the way you want it to or be as good as you hoped it would, then you can freely create without that expectation.
It's no secret that as a human you have good days and bad days. Art is no different because sometimes you create things that you fall in love with and sometimes you create things you'd rather forget. However, accepting that this does happen and will continue to happen allows you to make from a space of freedom. My twin brother, who is also a photographer, once said "I had to learn to make failure my friend".
What ideas interested you in the beginning of your practice, which ideas have you continued to explore, and where have they led you?
The idea of getting better interested me in the beginning and continues to interest me now. We see it so often in so many different professions that when people start to feel comfortable with where there at, they begin to get complacent. I think that's human nature to feel like that. To feel as if we've accomplished all that we can accomplish in our line of work, thus creating the idea that there's nothing else for us to work on or improve within ourselves. It's like we solely focus on our strengths while neglecting our weaknesses.
So, the idea that there will always be room for improvement no matter what has definitely served as a guiding light so far in my gift.
Photo by: Tyler Henson
Who were and are the biggest sources of your inspiration?
God. When I look outside I see all that He's created. I find inspiration in that from time to time. Aside from Him, my brothers Tyler Henson and Jordan Henson are a source of inspiration. As I briefly mentioned before I have a twin brother but I also have an older brother as well as an older sister. My twin and I are identical in the way our art reflects who we are. However, our older brother has a different eye and different perspective which is good because he's able to come from a different angle and shine light on thing we hadn't thought about and vice versa. Outside of family, I have a handful of friends who are artists and they inspire me with their bravery and courageous spirit within their own work. Just to name a few, Natalie Rogers, Emmanuel Porquin and Enoch Ku.
Where do you find inspiration?
I draw inspiration from many different places. Sometimes I get inspired by a show I'm watching on Netflix and the way the music is scored. Sometimes I get inspired by conversations I have with family and friends. Sometimes I'm inspired by verses I read in my bible. Inspiration has many different faces.
Photo by: Jordan Henson
Is there are a single work, project, or series that is pivotal in your current trajectory?
This is a good question. It made pause and think for a while. I don't think there's a single piece or group of work that’s been pivotal but I do think the moment I was introduced to showing work in galleries was a pivotal moment. It opened me up to different avenues of exposing my work and different opportunities to connect with artists in spaces I was unfamiliar with. I don't know if it had anything to do with the work that was being made at the time either. I just think it was an opportunity that presented itself as a blessing.
How did it begin? and how did it evolve?
There was a professor in college that noticed how passionate my brother and I were with photography. So she suggested we submit work to a nearby gallery that was looking for artists for their upcoming show. We submitted work, it was accepted and my brother and I were in our first gallery show through the Art League of Ocean City in Ocean City, MD. Since then, my brother and I have had multiple opportunities to show work through another art league here in Rockville. I look forward to exposing my work and myself in similar spaces and learning what I can to apply it to my art.
What were important lessons in the process that you’ve carried forward with you?
Trusting in God is one of the biggest lessons I've learned and carried with me in my journey as an artist. Which I feel like is the same as saying trusting the process, but just trusting how things are going and when things happen for you. I think from time to time we all have fallen victim to trying to force things to happen instead of allowing them to happen organically. This can be a difficult lesson to accept but once accepted it can save you from a lot stress and pressure you might put on yourself.
Also, another lesson I've learned so far is the tool is only as good as the user. You can have the most expensive camera on the market with all the latest features but that camera will never take a photo on it's own. I've learned that the time, energy and effort spent working on your craft and perfecting your 'eye' is more important than the tool you use to take photos with. In the beginning I used to think if only I had a certain camera then my photos would be better. Until I realized it wasn't the camera that would make my photos better it was me.
One of the photos used in the very first gallery show in Ocean City, MD
What are you working on now?
My brother and I are compiling photos for a potential photo book. Excited about that.
Photo by: Jordan Henson
If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your art practice and give your younger self a single piece of advice what would it be?
I think I'd give myself encouragement. I'd tell him to keep going no matter what's happening around you. Trust in God and keep doing what you're doing man.
About the Artist
Based in Rockville, Maryland
Darien Henson is a Maryland based awarded photographer. His work has been published in both print and online publications as well as shown in various galleries in Maryland and Ocean City.
Darien has been honing his skills since 2013. He enjoys experimenting with different genres of photography to help mold a more well-rounded understanding of the art form. He believes this approach allows for failure to take place which is a key component when creating. Darien continues to look for ways to improve and looks forward to the next stage of evolution.
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