Interviewed by archivist Wendy Scheir. Dan Carlson discusses his undergraduate studies at James Madison University, where he studied under Greg Stuart, and his decision to relocate to New York City. At Parsons School of Design, in its MFA in Fine Arts program, Carlson undertook as his thesis a project titled "Powered by Newton Creek." This project applied refinement techniques to environmental detritus as a model for generating energy. Carlson describes the classes that led to this thesis, including Matt Freedman's "History of Utopia" class, as well as his thesis show at The Kitchen in Chelsea, and his studios in the Greenpoint, Sunset Park, and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn.