Daniel Seddiqui is one to never shy away from learning something new.
In fact, he thrives on it.
Seddiqui is currently on a road trip visiting 65 cities across the United States, where he is crafting a piece in every major U.S. city that depicts its culture/industry/history.
He calls the series, “A Piece of Your City,” to encourage meaningful hands-on experiences that visitors can remember their connection with the city and to get behind America’s pride of craftsmanship and innovation.
To date, Seddiqui has already learned some iconic craftsmanship and created meaningful pieces such as graffiti art in Brooklyn, New York; the Louisville Slugger in Kentucky; a model car in Detroit; 3D architectural model in Chicago; Scandinavian butter knife in Minneapolis; The Terrible Towel of Pittsburgh Steelers fame; vinyl records in Cleveland; poetry in Washington D.C.; crab mallet in Baltimore, Maryland; currency at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia; and glassblowing in Providence, Rhode Island.
He arrived in Albuquerque for a two-day stay last week. The stop marked No. 55 on his list.
“It’s fun to learn something new every day,” he says. “This is why I do it. I never want to feel like I’m stagnant.”
While in Albuquerque, Seddiqui painted a piece of pottery and cut and polished a piece of turquoise at the Turquoise Museum.
“I’m planning to write a book and it’s part of the reason I’m doing this journey,” he says. “We are broken in several ways as a country. I’m so obsessed with the country. This is why I want to showcase the culture and the things we do great.”
The pandemic slowed the plans of everyone and Seddiqui feels human connection was lost.
“I thought about doing something meaningful,” he says. “This gave me an opportunity to learn about people’s pride in crafting and building things. It’s been an incredible journey. In my office back home, I want to have 50 mementos from all the states.”
Seddiqui is no stranger to traveling the country for a project.
“A Piece of Your City” is his fourth.
“In my adulthood, I’ve been with strangers,” he says. “I’ve done all of these projects and found that there are great people around. I’d like to say when people ask me about my journey, it started when I was 6 years old and staring at maps. I also used to collect baseball cards and see the different cities. I was more curious about the cities than the teams. I’m having authentic experiences.”
Seddiqui is the first to acknowledge that each trip hasn’t been an easy thing.
“The path that I chose is due to the amazing amount of curiosity in me,” he says. “I don’t know if I was born with it. I’m sleeping two hours a night and I have a lot to see and experience. I don’t let logistics get in the way and planning is important.”
Seddiqui’s trip to Albuquerque isn’t his first.
In 2008, he set out to work in every state.
“I did landscape architecture with Hilltop Landscape Architects and Contractors,” he says. “I learned how people use rocks because of the scarcity of resources out in New Mexico. I would stay with host families and live with them for a week. I lived close to the Sandia Mountains in an adobe-style home. It was really cool.”
His second time was in 2018 during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
“I went up in a hot air balloon and it was terrifying for me,” he says. “We went up quickly and I asked to be brought down. I’m not big on heights. But it was an experience for me.”
Seddiqui got married two years ago and has a child now.
He’s trying to get in some more time on the road before he will slow down on the projects.
“Each journey has been meaningful for me,” he says. “I’ve been doing this for 14 years now. These journeys challenge me by trying to find something new. It’s been a long journey from me growing up and staring at the map. I’ve been many places and that doesn’t get lost.”