It is said that a picture holds a thousand words, well if that’s true then Andrew Daniel’s paintings must hold a million! Mixing eclectic inspirations from nature, textiles and folk art, Andrew paints us a world that is full of vivid and diverse colors. His calm nature and happy tones are unavoidable and we were recently given a chance to peek inside the mind of this highly talented GreenBox artist.
This is what he had to say:
GreenBox: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
Andrew Daniel: Once in college I tried to walk away from being an artist for two weeks. What actually happened was I never really stopped being creative… My creative nature was expressed in other ways; like my relationships with others (meddling in their lives in strange ways that were not always welcome) and obsessive fantasies about everything from relocating to other countries to different bizarre entrepreneurial adventures. After the two weeks, I had spun my wheels in so many directions I was tired out and confused, coming back to art felt like a very natural evolution then.
At heart, I have always been an anarchist, I want to make up my own rules that follow the logic that makes sense to me. Being an artist is a safe and fun way to build a world that reflects my own preferences and imagination.
They say Hitler applied to art school and was rejected. If he had been encouraged more to use art as a creative outlet, I believe he would have been a fairly harmless citizen of the Germany; poor and obscure recreating his own version of the world on canvas.
GB: How would you describe your style?
AD: My work has evolved through many styles over the years, for the sake of brevity I’ll comment on the body of work that GreenBox has chosen to collaborate with me on. In this body of work I am interested in dazzling bright colors, woven together, layer upon layer, over assorted shapes pulled from folk art, textile design, quilting, ceramics, and wallpaper.
GB: What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
AD: While I was creating these works, I often sketched on loose pieces of printer paper, taking notes of anything that inspired me, whether it was the way someone had designed a flower in a Persian rug, or a bird I might have seen on someones necklace. I would appropriate these images and use them as starting points. Eventually I had a binder full of sketches, before I started a new painting, I would pull out the binder, select maybe six sketches and move them around on a table, then maybe I would look on the internet or at books of geometric patterns for more inspiration, then I would look through my huge bin of paint tubes and select five colors or so that would be the main color theme. By this time I couldn’t wait to start painting.
GB: What message or feeling are you trying to communicate with your art?
AD: In these paintings I am after the feeling one feels in their heart when they are sunbathing, laying on warm sand and have just slipped off into a daydream.
GB: What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
AD: I started with food service, which was great inspiration for getting out of food service and going to college. After college I began working with elementary school aged children through Americorps. It was at this job that I learned to be very loud and playful with my colors. Was it the children, or was it the geniuses that came up with the colors for Crayola Markers? Now I work with Intellectually Disabled Adults, which I find to be quite compatible with the life of an artist. It’s low stress and I have time to work on my art.
GB: What artists do you look up to?
AD: For this body of work, I was interested in Gustav Klimt, Pierre Bonnard, the impressionists, as well as the many other anonymous folk artists that have contributed to the collective creative mind of humanity.
GB: Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
AD: If I had another life, a twin of myself that I could delegate to any possible lifestyle and creative goals, I would set him to work as a chainsaw sculptor, creating roadside attractions! Gawd how my heart yearns for that life, in fact I would regularly trade places with him whenever I got too jealous at his achievements!
As it is, life is short, and I have to pick a focus if I want to get anywhere, so I have chosen painting!
GB: What food, drink, song inspires you?
AD: Circus Cookies
GB: What superpower would you have and why?
AD: Mother Theresa, Jesus, The Buddha, dedicating ones life to an ideal in such a way that it just radiates out of you! If I could combine that quality with superman flight, I would fly circles around the world just shining goodness!
GB: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
AD: Picasso had once said something like “Bad artists borrow from other artists, good artists steal it and make it their own!” This helped me to stop worrying about originality and embrace making art that really celebrated the good qualities that inspired me from other peoples work!
GB: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring designers/artists?
AD: Find a day job you like and doesn’t take all of your energy, then you are free to follow your inspiration as an artist without having to worry about making it pay the bills. One of the best decisions I have made, keeps me excited about my work, on the other hand it means I am a very busy person.
The other thing I might say is don’t sell short your contributions to the world. Life would be absolutely bleak without art! Creativity is the life force of community, we make people feel connected to something larger, we remind people of the potential of humanity!