Trainers, Part 2 (Vamps)

Danielle Dean’s work focuses on subverting the process of constructing and commodifying identity and exploring the fragility of meaning around our subjective selves.

Artist Bio

In 2003, Nike released a sneaker called “True Red,” which was marketed as a vampire sneaker. Trainers, Part 2 (Vamps) takes this shoe as a protagonists of a speculative vampire film set in the historic affordable housing community, Cuney Homes, in Houston Texas, which was first developed in 1938. Danielle Dean’s sister and her friends (who live in Cuney Homes) feature in the film in front of a castle set. A bright red, clip art style graphic of this sculpture is based on the colors of this shoe and design elements of the Elmina Castle in Ghana. Elmina castle was brought in a pre-fitted form, on a ship from Portugal in 1400 and set up on the coast of Ghana to house goods for trading and later slaves. The castle also takes an aesthetic cue from point of sale displays for products – in this case instead of promoting a product the pre-fabricated display will become the set for a speculative vampire film. This work will further Dean’s investigation into how advertising shapes subjects, and investigates our relationship to circulating objects.

Award Year

In Progress

Danielle Dean presents Trainers, Part 2 at the 2016 Creative Capital Retreat

Danielle Dean

Danielle Dean

Houston, TX

Danielle Dean is an Alabama-born, London-raised visual artist. Her work explores the colonialism of mind and body—the interpellation of thoughts, feelings and social relations by power structures working through news, advertising, political speech, and digital media. Dean’s work focuses on the multilayered process of constructing and commodifying raced, gendered, aged and classed categories through target-marketing practices. Through projects like True Red (Vampire), Dean explores the fragility of meaning around race, gender, and subjectivity.

Dean’s exhibitions include Focus at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and Made in L.A. 2014 at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Her worked has screened at venues including MoMA PS1, and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. Dean’s residencies include the Houston’s Core Program, Museum Fine Arts, Houston, TX. The Whitney’s Independent Study Program in New York. Dean received a BFA from Central Saint Martins School of Art and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles.