Dan Thornhill has taken the inspiration life has given him and turned it into a wonderful body of artworks over the past several years. Everyday objects become vibrant rainbows of color and shape on his canvases.
Flowers with Black Vase, Mixed Media on Panel
Why art? There are lots of things you can do in life, why did making art grab you and not let go?
I’m not sure how to answer to this question, except that there is an internal drive, a passion, to make art. It is a human way of saying, "look I’m here". Making art is my way of keeping a journal of my life.
Yeah, it’s a question that gets asked a lot, but I’m going to ask it again: What inspires you?
I’m inspired just sitting in my studio with my materials in front of me waiting for me to create something new, original, and fresh. Sometimes I like working in silence and other times I like having some music going – either Rock and Roll or the oldies but goodies. Inspiration can come from many sources but the most important source is within you as an artist.
What do you find to be the hardest aspect to being
An artist needs to do their work and satisfy themselves first – that’s why I’m not into doing commission work. I paint and draw for myself. Of course, I appreciate it when someone likes my work enough to buy. This way I feel like I can remain creative and inventive. Of course, it is a difficult lesson to learn that not every viewer will appreciate your efforts.
If you could say there is one thing that drives your creative process, what would that be?
It is an inner drive to be creative, which involves self-motivation and more. I think a person to be an artist must have a passion for their work – a desire to have a voice.
Most artists have some idea of where they are going with their work while they are creating it. However, there is always the aspect that the viewer will project their own ideas and experiences onto the work when they see it. Do you feel that you, in a sense, lose some control of the work once it is released into the wild? Is this bothersome to you?
No. I feel like my work takes on a new life when it leaves me – it is like giving birth. I love seeing people interact with my work – and seeing them project their own ideas and experiences onto the work. Art is such a personal thing and I would not expect people to react any other way.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope I would still be in my studio working and growing as an artist. I think it is important to always be experimenting and evolving as an artist. So, I would hope that the work that I will be doing in five years is even more amazing than my work today. Nothing worse in my opinion than a stale artist – who can only repeat themselves over and over again.
Do you have a preferred medium that you use, and why does it just click with you when you create?
I love using acrylic paint. I used oils in the past but with asthma I have to use a safer medium. Acrylic is also more versatile than oils. I like doing mixed media and acrylics are very suited for this.
What is your biggest thrill at the opening reception for a show of your work?
It is always exciting to be with people who are interested enough in art to come and see your work. Also, it is a thrill to see how the public reacts to my art.
If you had the ability to take a class or workshop with any artist, who would it be?
I would love to spend a day with Pablo Picasso – and just listen and learn.
Sometimes artists feel that their studio is something of a sacred place to them. It can be very personal for them, and allowing others in can make them uncomfortable. Is your studio like this? How do you see your studio or workspace?
My studio is a sacred place for me. I can be in my studio without critics doing my thing as an artist. I even wrote a poem about this. It is a personal space where I can spend time alone. I do have a “significant other” who shares the studio with me. I love her presence there.
What is the greatest accomplishment you want to achieve in your career as an artist?
Being an artists, itself, has its own rewards, so being an artist and continuing to create and evolve as a person is my goal.
Thank you Danfor taking the time to give us a little insight into yourself as an artist!