Q1. When did you first start drawing and painting? What motivated you?
Daniel: When I was very young, I’ve painted on the walls of the classroom helped by teachers. It was animals from jungle and forest... if I do remember it was when I was in the infant school, I was 5 years old. Teachers bought me paintings and brushes when they saw that I loved to paint and to draw and my work was different from the other children's works.
I didn’t know where was from my motivation when I was young, but I know there were two artists uncles in my family and I was with bright eyes, large open eyes when I looked at their artworks.
I said in my mind, «It’s what I want to do» and my parents indirectly helped me, they often bought me manual presents, to play with colours, with volumes etc...
Later I was motivated by being able to help my friends at school to make their drawings [hahaha] it was a good training, I've done it during a lot of years and after when I was older, I went to the Art School... but it’s for the other question! [Laugh]
My motivation is to discover everyday's new things, to see the world with my artist eyes and imagine it better...Imagine.
Q2. Are you self-taught or had an art-education? Where you studied art?
Daniel: At first yes, but when I was 16 years old, I went to the Art School, it was magical to meet a lot of young artists and very good art teachers.
My dream became true and I learnt a lot of art techniques, photograph, sculpture, architecture, perspective, advertising, textile creations and of course the drawing and the paintings. We had good teachers, they were artists too, some were famous in France and at Rome. My motivation became better and better, I wanted to learn all things at the same time, I was in hurry to know and It’s what I’ve done during 6 years (1979-1985) at the Art School «ESAAT» at Roubaix, Northern France. I always have a good memory of this art school period and I always feel it, smell the odors of the clay in the sculpture class and the odors of the paintings, charcoal, the ink etc... during the Art nude courses, sketches etc...
Q3. Were your family supportive with your art?
Daniel: When I was young,yes, for my parents it was great to see their child drawing like that... but later they wanted me to have a good job and they thought that the Art was not a good job to have money. It was difficult to me, but now I understand my parents since I had three children and now a grandson. We want the best to our children and we can make mistakes. I am from a large family with 8 children and my parents are from working class. We didn’t have a lot of money to live and my father was seriously sick... By the way, they wanted that I studied to become a teacher, a doctor etc...because I was the only child in the family to be able to study, they gave all their money to me to study. My teachers from the «college» in 1978 when I was 15 years old, opened the eyes of my parents and explain to them that we can learn a lot of jobs with the art. They said «OK» I bounced, I danced all around the table, «I will go to the Art School the next year».... imagine my joy, it was incredible but very expensive, so I worked like a crazy and I always do that in memory of my very nice father (R.I.P) and my mother is always proud about it. It was difficult to give me money all the time to study, so even teachers bought me paper, paintings, pencils etc... thanks to everybody, if I am a painter now, it is due to a lot of people helped me when it was difficult.
Q4. It seems the cityscapes are the most favourite subject of yours to paint... what's so special about the cityscapes that made you want to paint them?
Daniel: Maybe because when I was young we lived in the city, at Lille and I have a beautiful memory when we were returning home after the school. We were walking under the rain with our mother and the traffic light was like a fireworks to me, like a festival of colors and light. The human is special to me too, it is at the first place because without human there is no cities. I also love to draw and paint people, portraits etc... Actually I've started a Bar series to paint the human living in the city. But you are right, the city is magical to me, I especially love the dark atmosphere during or after the rain with the beautiful light of the end day, between day and night. All the architectures in the city reflected our society and our cultures during a period. We can see a lot of different architectures in our modern societies and it’s very interesting, like we can also see a lot people from different cultures, I really love it, it’s colorful and very interesting to meet them.
I also love landscapes, the mountains and the sea... but only to rest, to walk and to feel good... but not to paint. I respect the nature, I hate the pollution and I know the city is in the opposite way about that. But I really love our human history and our societies to paint.
Q5. What/who gives you inspirations to paint/draw? Have you ever got “Artist's Block”?
Daniel: Love is the first word coming in my mind to answer to this question, love is all and it’s everywhere if we really want to see it. The love of the life is a good motivation and to show our modern societies to the future generations too.
My first inspiration is the love of all what is around me, the motivation from the love of my family – my wife helps me a lot and my children too. They share my work, they enjoy it and my wife and my children practice drawing and painting too. I am very proud about it. It’s the best motivation to me, a good support. I also love to share my work to explain to younger artists how I work, the sharing is very important if we want to keep the art living.
I remember how the masters, my artists uncles, art teachers and other older artists inspired me a lot when I was young, so I want to do the same with younger artists now.
So, I already have a very hard and long Art Block, when one of my daughters fell seriously sick on 2001. It was a very difficult moment and my wife and I could not do anything else. Everyday we went to the hospital during long years and we tried to sleep only when we could...
Now our daughter feels better even if she is always sick, we cross our fingers... It was the most hard Art Block to me, but now I am motivated and very inspired to paint against diseases, I often make donations to help the research foundations.
Sometimes when I am very tired I have the Art Block, but it's never a long time. I just have to wait, to rest and The picture of my next painting appear in my head.... and I run like a crazy in my studio [Laugh].
When the Art Block is strong, I walk in the city, I look at all reflections effects, I make a lot of photos and the inspiration come back very fast.
Q6. Acrylic seems to be your favourite medium... why acrylic?
Daniel: Why not ? LOL ! [Laugh]
I love to paint with acrylic because it dries very fast and it’s great for my fast technique painting. I like to work with layers, step by step, with my brush in my left hand and a hairdryer in my right hand.
At first I paint a black and white sketch on a colored ground to see the depth, the light and contrast very fast. After that I add the colours, watercoloured and with opacity. I like to make the sketch appear as the final version to keep the painting feeling, never hyper-realistic... you see what I mean. Even if I like the hyper-realistic paintings, I think they are crazy good to do that, but I prefer to paint very fast and keep the spontaneous brush strokes of my sketches.
The acrylic medium reminds me when I started to paint when I was young, with the gouache medium. The acrylic is close to gouache and I like it. I tried to paint with oil medium, but it was not good with my painting technique, it takes too long to dry and I often put my hand on it...grrrrr !!!
Q7. How you like to work? (Environment, Lights, Canvas/paper size.. etc) You know some likes to work in sunset, some likes to work in bigger canvas etc...
Daniel: I paint in my studio, I never paint in outdoor because I like to paint lonely and not with all the people in the city around me...noooo help !!! I am shy.
I paint from photos because cars and people never stop for me to paint [hahaha] So a photo is great to do it, I stop the time and I can paint it quietly in my studio.
The light in my studio is a natural neon day light, white tiles, ceilings and white walls. So I can make my own colors on my palette with the primary colours, blue, yellow, red and black and white. I like to create my colours from primary colours.
I usually paint on canvas and I prefer the large sizes because I can paint with larger brushes and be more spontaneous. With little canvas it’s different – I am too close of the painting with little brushes, so it’s less spontaneous and I make too much details.
Q8. Do you have any “artist's dream” of painting something that you have not yet?
Daniel: My artist’s dream was to travel a lot through the world to make photos to paint, I've done it in big cities like NYC, Orlando, Montreal, Toronto, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Chennai, Pondicherry etc... My dream is to be able to really go everywhere and see a smile to the face of all children and people...
Q9. As a Traditional Painter, how is your view on the digital paintings? As it is relatively a lot easier than the traditional paintings, the new generation is embracing it pretty much...
Daniel: I like all tools to create, I am a traditional painter and I love the digital creations. To make the digital paintings there are good artists on the computers, it’s just a tool and their brains and hand are most important, like us the traditional artists. I don’t know much enough about the digital art to say whether it’s more or less difficult to do than the traditional art. To me it’s crazy difficult to use a computer [hahaha].
We live in a modern society with modern tools, maybe if the old masters knew our modern tools they would use it... I am not against the modern tools even if I prefer my old brushes and my canvas, I like to feel and smell the reality.
One of my best friend was a traditional artist, he is now older and sick, so he can’t paint anymore. Now the computer helps him a lot, he became a very good digital painter and I love his work.
Q10. Do you want to give the readers any advises/tips?
Daniel: Paint like a crazy, practice fast sketches a lot and enjoy what you do and enjoy to share it and to explain it to younger artists. Open your eyes and look at all what is around us, all is good to learn.
A big thanks to Daniel for sharing his experiences in art world. It's been a pleasure.
Have a nice week and stay tuned.