Artist Survey #15: Danae Wilson

I met Danae on my second day at CSU Long Beach. We lived in the same dorm building and along with her roommate Christina and my neighbor Mike became good friends. She has a talent to control whatever medium she works with incredible ease. At least it looks that way to me…I can’t paint fer crap!

{Oil on Canvas}


{Oil on Canvas}


{Screen Print}


{Oil on Canvas}

Name: Danae Wilson

Location: Long Beach, CA

Medium(s): Drawing and Painting- Charcoal and Oil on Canvas mostly but I do pattern making and screen-printing, as well as ceramics and metal work.

What do you consider yourself (artist/designer/other)? I am an artist, but I play around with interior and graphic design.

Where can we see your work (place/publications/url)? My flickr but it needs to be updated there’s not much there.

When did you start gaining interest in artistic forms of expression? I started drawing when I was 2. My dad was a Pastor of a church and my mom worked so I stayed with him during the days. I would sit on the floor drawing and painting for hours. I was five when I told my mom I would try and think of something I wanted to paint before I went to bed so that I could dream about and have more to paint about.

Who/What inspired your interest? I used to take lessons as a child and I would go to The San Diego Museum of Art. My favorite painting as a child was Jaques-Louis David’s Death of Marat. I also loved the impressionists and the idea that I could invent anything I wanted on paper. My other inspiration was Harold and the Purple Crayon, I loved that he invented a world around him using only his purple crayon and some imagination.

What is your day job? I am a Photo Retoucher. I use Photoshop to enhance wall portraits (removing blemishes, wrinkles, extra pounds, and unwanted people in backgrounds).

Why do you create? I create because I have to. I don’t create enough though and this plagues me.

Is there any recurring theme in your work? The idea of dystopia comes up a lot in my work, which I think stems from coming to Los Angeles and my feelings of disenchantment and disgust, mixed with wonder. I also focus on personal themes, roles of women, and often my work is inspired by classic literature. I am also a Comparative World Literature minor.

What do you want from your work? I want my work to inspire and receive respect from those who I admire and respect within my art community, but I also want my work to stay universal and retain the ability to communicate to those who are not part of the “art world” and have no training in art history and the art canon.

What do you want viewers to take from your work? I like people to be able to project their own feelings and emotions onto my work. When I create something that is open ended enough that someone else can come and put his or her own interpretation into the piece, then I’m happy.

How often do you work on personal projects? Pretty often. My figurative works are what I consider my “personal projects,” although I have been showing them at school lately so they are less personal.

How often do you work on commissions or commercial work? I do paintings for charities although I never show this work to anyone else because of how commercial and even kitschy the works can be.

Does your art support you financially? No. However I do find photo retouching to be a distant cousin of painting and its close enough since it pays the bills.

Do you feel preoccupied with your art, do you think about it often during the day and night and do you anticipate your next session? Yes. I think of all sorts of projects and paintings that never come into existence because of factors like time, money, and freedom to explore without feeling like the work is “unworthy.” I need to let go of those restrictions though.

What do you do in your spare time besides your art? I go camping, I love nature, I love being away from the city. I ride my bike on the beach a lot. These things make me so happy. When I can, I travel. I push myself to grow whenever I can and I pursue things that make me uncomfortable. I never want to be at rest.

Which musicians are you currently interested in? Bon Iver, Fatboy Slim, Sigur Ros, and always Classic Rock

Are there any events you are looking forward to attending? COACHELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How long do you generally take on a piece? A week. I have NO patience. I’m a “one-shot” painter and I don’t usually go back to old pieces.

Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of your art? Over and Over. Artists can only date very patient and understanding people who see that art is a necessity and who want to promote your growth rather than monopolize your time.  I could have done anything coming out of High School, but I chose the art path and I know that I will probably never see a ladder that I can climb or any obvious ways to advance myself. Artists have to be as creative with their career and employment as they are with their art.

Do you work on multiple projects at once? Yes. I work on abstracted apocalyptic landscapes, as well as large-scale figurative drawings.

Do you have trouble parting with your finished work? I never part with my work, at least not anything I really cared for. I know it will be hard when I do but so far I have hoarded most of my work or given it to my mother and father.

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