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Work Samples

Boston, 2014

DS Mangus: Boston, 2014
A 3 x 3 grid of nine square photographs representing Boston.

Boylston + Kilmarnock, 2014

DS Mangus: Boylston + Kilmarnock, 2014
A composite of several shots and shoots of a building under construction in Boston.

Storefront Window, 2012

DS Mangus: Storefront Window, 2012
A composite of nine square photographs of a storefront window in Boston.

Otis, 2014

DS Mangus: Otis, 2014
A photomontage of my nephew.


About Dereck

Baltimore City

Dereck Stafford Mangus was born on February 1, 1978 in Concord, MA, a few days before an historic blizzard hit New England. He was born to Richard (a Jack of all trades, master of none) and Rebecca (née York), a nurse who worked at Emerson Hospital where Mangus was born. He grew up in Hudson, MA, an old shoe mill town on the Assabet River, and was introduced to art at an early age by his older sister. Mangus currently lives and works in Baltimore, MD. 


Project Squared began in 2001 as a postal art exchange between my older sister and myself while she was studying design in London and I was studying art at UMass Boston. I was enrolled in a photography course and trying to come up with a final project when, for whatever reason, we began playing around with the different meanings of the word "square" in our mailings. "Square" could be a formal design element or a slang affront: "You are such a square!"

This got me thinking about how something so simple could work on so many levels. I was shooting with medium format film, which makes square negatives, so it just made sense to begin shooting square things I came across in the world. I’ve been doing so ever since. What began as a playful postal art correspondence evolved into a sustained photo series, and ultimately the subject of my graduate thesis, "The Persistence of and Resistance to Structure: The Grid-Square Construct in Western Visual Culture."

Squares are everywhere in the built environment: buttons, drains, hatches, signs, windows, and vents for example. The square also represents time, with its four equal sides suggesting the four seasons, and in the form of the calendar, with its grid of squares demarcating days of the week. In 2016, I designed a calendar based on my square series and mailed them out to friends, family, colleagues, and artists whose work I admire. I included 16 square photographs (12 months + 4 seasons) and the necessary hardware for assembling a wall hanging.

  • Baltimore, 2016

    DS Mangus: Baltimore, 2016
    A 3 x 3 grid of nine square things found around Baltimore.
  • Mt. Vernon, 2015

    DS Mangus: Mt. Vernon, 2015
    A 3 x 3 grid of nine square things found in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore.
  • MICA, 2016

    DS Mangus: MICA, 2016
    A 3 x 3 grid of nine square things found around the Maryland Institute College of Art.
  • BMA, 2017

    DS Mangus: BMA, 2017
    A 3 x 3 grid of nine square things found at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
  • Calendar, 2016

    DS Mangus: Calendar, 2016
    Sixteen square photos representing the 12 months and 4 seasons of the year.
  • Mailer #1, 2016

    DS Mangus: Mailer #1, 2016
    Photographic documentation of the exterior of the handmade mailer for Calendar, 2016.
  • Mailer #2, 2016

    DS Mangus: Mailer #2, 2016
    Photographic documentation of the interior of the handmade mailer for Calendar, 2016.
  • April, 2016

    DS Mangus: April, 2016
    A square photograph representing the month of April.
  • Summer, 2016

    DS Mangus: Summer, 2016
    A digital photograph of a square container of blueberries representing the season of summer.
  • September, 2016

    DS Mangus: September, 2016
    A digital photograph of an analog clock.


I am deeply inspired by the built environment in which I live and work. My Constructions illustrate this well. For this series of photomontages, I locate buildings under construction and take multiple shots across their façades, sometimes revisiting the site several times over the course of its development. I later re-construct the multiple shots (and shoots) into one larger composite image.

This format is familiar to many tourists and is reminiscent of the photographic work of David Hockney. But by specifically focusing on construction and renovation sites, I create a space for communication between the three-dimensional materiality of architecture and its two-dimensional representation. The various materials of art and architecture recombine in this series to convey a sense of perpetual flux.

The analogy of work, as in how human beings work their environment through abstract strategies and concrete structures and how artists re-work that same environment through visual representation, connects the two activities of art and architecture. A landscape is something that is worked over by human processes. Workers shape the land and artists re-interpret and re-present it in their artwork.


While looking out the window as a child, I would pass the time alternating my focus between the mesh of the window screen and the world beyond. Years later, while photographing a small chair by a seaside cliff, I decided to capture it through a screen door, which resulted in a more abstract image. I am interested in the liminal space between abstraction and representation. My Grids series exemplifies this.

Like squares, grids are found throughout the built environment. From urban street layouts to agricultural fields, grids are used to measure, order, and rationalize space. Grids come in a variety of sizes and serve a range of functions. Whether in the lay of the land or the look of modern art, and from ancient mosaics to the pixels of digital technologies, grids inform our visual culture.


Like the façade of a building, a person's face alters over time; it cracks and fades with age. Some faces age with grace and beauty like ancient architecture. Others do not. When people pose for a photograph, they freeze and standing perfectly still, stare into the camera's lens: the eyes are the windows to the soul. People and buildings are constantly in flux and have multiple levels of meaning. Some are simple, others more complex. Some faces and buildings have intriguing histories. But every face has a story to tell.

Connect with Dereck

Dereck's Curated Collection

View Dereck's favorite works from other Baker Artists