“I wAS THAT GUY ARMED WITH A SOFT TOY AND SOME BUBBLES.”
What’s your background?
My background from an art point of view is, I studied Illustration at Bournemouth Uni, but I can’t say it helped that much get to where I am now. This is jointly down to me being 19 at the time, and being more interested in going out partying than knuckling down and working hard, and perhaps the course not being that inspiring. I didn’t really do anything art based for a long time after graduating, and only got back into it about 10 years after (kind of by accident)and then used to paint in my old garage any chance I could, around working a day job.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
For me I would say you have to constantly work on projects that inspire you. As soon as it feels like a job, it becomes very soulless - If your single purpose for making art is to make money, then you should question that. If you look at kids when they make art, be it painting, colouring or whatever, they do what they want to do, and its always done with having fun as the main objective, not can I turn this into money. My aim is to have that kind of energy in my work. I’ve turned down big commissions in the past for really big bucks, because it didn’t appeal to me creatively.
What do you dislike about the art world?
Not an awful lot if I’m being honest, but one thing that always grates me, is when you walk in some galleries, and the atmosphere is purposely set up to belittle you, should your art knowledge not be up to scratch. This is especially funny when the work on the walls looks like a 5 year old made it!
What is your dream project?
I find this a really hard question to answer, as it changes all the time, and I’m sure if I were asked in 6 months time it would be a different answer! What initially springs to mind, is maybe painting an album cover for one of my favourite bands, where perhaps you are heavily involved in the creative process – That would be amazing!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When I was trying to turn painting from my side hustle into my main hustle, another artist told me that you have to be patient - it takes a long time to get anywhere. That always stuck with me and gave me hope. I didn’t really sell any paintings for the first 5 years of painting, and was purely making art for the love of doing it. It takes years of making bad paintings that no one wants before you can get anywhere!
Professionally,what’s your goal?
To be remembered when I’m gone. Everything I work towards now, is based around what legacy I can leave, and perhaps what story can I tell about our culture today. If you think about paintings currently hanging in museums, they are about the culture of the time – So for example, a painting from 300 years ago, we can look at the people how they were dressed etc and it tells a story of their era. I really hope my great great great grandson gets to see some of my paintings in a museum one day!
Who are your biggest influences?
From an artist point of view, I would say Leonardo Da Vinci, John Singer Sargent, Van Gogh, to name but a few! I always try to look at past masters for influence rather than my contemporaries. I feel its better to go to the original source.
How has your art developed over your career?
Well, it’s actually changed an awful lot. When I began, believe it or not, I actually painted abstract landscapes, as I thought there was no way I’d possibly be able to manage painting people. I gradually got bored and frustrated with the abstracts (as I had no idea when they were finished!) and got drawn to the idea of attempting to paint some of my friends with tattoos. Once I moved on to people, there was no turning back after that! When I look at paintings from say 5 years ago, I’ve definitely loosened up the brush marks, and don’t try to blend everything to death anymore. I try to be more economical now with my brush marks, and every stroke has to say something and be important to the finished piece.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
I would say, the best way is to focus on your craft, and making your art as good as possible, and then get it out on social media and see what people think. Then eventually someone will DM you and say they love your work and ask what you have available. I can still remember getting my first inquiry, and being blown away that someone was actually interested in owning my art! Then (as mentioned above!) you have to be patient and understand it takes a long time to build up a collector base, but if you put the emphasis on improving your art, the collector base will take care of itself!
Beyond tattoos and supporting other creatives, what are your passions? What do you do on vacation or your days off? What do you wish you had more time for?
I don’t really have days off as such, as painting is my passion, so generally speaking I’m in my studio every day, or if not, doing something painting related. One thing I want to make time for soon is surfing. I keep putting it off, as living in London, obviously there’s no surf to be had there, so it involves a bit of effort, but its something I really want to get into soon. I love the calm energy that being by the sea brings, and I’m intrigued to see if it will affect my work in any way.
Dead or alive who would you love to paint and why?
I would love to paint some of my favourite artists I mentioned above – especially Van Gogh – That would be awesome!
Tell us something about your personal life past or present that will blow our minds :)
Ok – For years before I was an artist, I was a children’s photographer. I was that guy, armed with a soft toy and bubbles, and sent into a nursery or pre school with the task of having to photograph 50 kids in about 3 hours. Obviously you had to make every kid smile as well (and none of them wanted to!) so it was ridiculously hard work. Although it could be fun, it was often like opening the gates of hell, and I’m glad I don’t have to do that anymore!
Any projects, events, or collabs coming up in 2019 that you’d like to share?
I’m currently in the process of making a book to come out towards the end of the year – it’s going to be part glossy coffee table book, a few technique things, lots of behind the scenes images in my studio, and lots of new and unseen stuff. If anything, I want it to be a bit of a journal of what’s been going on for the last 5 years, and almost be a bit of a bookend to close off this chapter of my life in painting. It will be my first ever book, so it’s super exciting as the whole thing will be self-published, will be completely designed by me with very little outside help!
More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer