my art plays between abstraction and meaning

From the simple elements of nature — leaves, shells, ice, petals, seeds — I create complex abstracts that play with your expectations, making art that is both familiar and surprising. I love to play on the cusp between abstraction and meaning; exploring the point where things change from unknown to understood. It always amazes me how people interpret my art, and transform it into their own dream-like stories of characters, moods, and scenes. Alive with ideas and emotions, my natural abstracts cultivate a sense of both intimacy and connection.

This is where my art begins.

My art begins from the very familiar — fallen leaves, broken sticks, melting ice, weathered bark, and old shells.


Most of my inspiration comes while walking through my neighborhood. My favorite time is right after a storm has blown through, scattering leaves and seeds everywhere. I aways have my eyes open for the overlooked details of nature — fallen and wind-swept leaves, pine cones that have begun to decay, or flowers pushing through the cracks in the sidewalk.
Learn more about my love of leaves.


As I walk, I'll stop and pick up any leaves, sticks and seeds that catch my eye. I carefully examine each fragile piece of nature, holding it to the light and looking for its hidden character or personality. Most get dropped back to the ground, but once and a while, one will reveal something unique. I save these, and bring them home to my studio.

Daniel Sroka at work in his studio


My studio is filled with leaves, sticks, bark, and seeds, strewn over tables and stashed into boxes! I carefully explore each one with my camera. Sometimes the perfect photograph almost leaps out of the camera. But most of the time it is a long, slow journey, where I create hundreds of photographs that experiment with light, focus, and compositon.


I am searching for that one photograph that is the perfect expression of the leaf's personality, that spark I first noticed on my walk. When I find it, I then continue to work with that photograph, spending days or weeks gently coaxing it into the final work of art. I use no special digital effects in my artwork — my photographs capture what I composed through the lens of the camera.