Emily Rowlett STEP Reflection

1. For my STEP project I compiled a catalog raisonné for artist Dan Tranberg. Tranberg was my uncle and a great inspiration to me. I constructed this project with the goal of memorializing his legacy as an artist. Through provenance research I found as much of Tranberg’s work as possible and traveled to photograph these pieces. After a number a trips to cities across the country I photographed over 150 works of art. I then created a catalog raisonné featuring these photos to fully capture the life and work of Dan Tranberg.

2. My experience completing my STEP Project was certainly enlightening. I learned a lot about myself as well as the art industry. I found that throughout each stage of my project, I took time to evaluate myself and my progress. While I have a tendency to procrastinate, this wasn’t a prominent issue throughout the months I was working on the project. I believe this is because I was passionate about the work I was doing, and this passion motivated me to get past certain obstacles and setbacks along the way. I enjoyed the work that I was doing and also had a personal connection to every aspect of the project, so finishing the catalog on time and to the best of my ability was essential.

I also found that my preconceived notions of the art industry and the careers of artists were severely tainted. I was unaware of the many hardships professional artists face in order to make a living and be successful. While finding works of art I came across numerous artists with their own unique stories and bodies of work. It was enlightening to hear about how they knew Dan Tranberg and why they own his art. After completing my STEP project, I have an even greater respect for professional artists and their craft.

3. The nature of my STEP project allowed me to interact with numerous people: from artists, to gallery owners, to friends and family. While it was interesting to hear from mutual friends of Dan Tranberg and I, I found it particularly rewarding to speak with artists I was meeting for the first time. In each meeting, we bonded over our love for Tranberg and his art and spoke about his incredible and inspiring success. These humbling experiences throughout the past year were an important part of my grieving process as well as a step in the right direction of my goal to memorialize Tranberg and his collection.

The knowledge I gained regarding the process of art making as well as selling the art was enlightening. I had little understanding of the process of making a name for yourself in the art world, something I knew Tranberg worked tirelessly at for the entirety of his life. After finding his art spread across the country, I knew that he had successfully established himself and a respected professional.

This widespread recognition further affirmed the importance of creating a catalog raisonné. While the book will be an important documentation of his collection for my family, it will also provide his friends, colleagues, and fellow artists with ways to memorialize him and his work. His impact on others as well as the art world was extensive and desperately needed to be commemorated.

4. Ultimately, I set out on this journey with hopes of memorializing my uncle, Dan Tranberg, and his collection of artwork. Along the way, I was able to both grieve and move on from the sadness of his sudden passing. Each new piece of art I tracked down was healing in the sense that I had found another source of Tranberg’s impact. His creativity and passion reached expansive audiences, something that I can only hope to achieve in my lifetime. I am concluding my STEP project with a strong drive to be fearless in pursuing my passions and leave my own impact on a new generation of artists and creators.