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Daniel Colby specializes in striking commissioned portraits of all subjects and ages, even your four-legged family members. Daniel divides his time between Montreal, QC and Uxbridge, ON. In this interview with The Artist's Page Daniel tells us a little more about himself and his work.
- Interviewed by Lesley Wilkins
Q. WHEN DID YOU FIRST START CREATING ART?
I was always drawing as a kid, interested in storytelling and characters. In university I started focusing on painting.
Q. TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST PIECE THAT YOU WERE REALLY HAPPY WITH.
In my final year of art school, I did a series of large-scale multi-figure paintings of ambiguous fictitious scenarios. They were ambitious, honest and playful and I felt like I was coming into my own with my work.
Q. WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU WORK IN PRIMARILY?
I work primarily in oil paint on canvas but behind the scenes, my work often involves photography and digital art as I come up with composition ideas and references. One of my favourite aspects of using paint as a medium is the ability to play with colour, weaving the myriad of different hues within a broader field of colour.
Q. DO YOU HAVE FORMAL TRAINING?
Yes, I have a bachelors degree in Fine Art from NSCAD University.
Q. WHAT DOES THE PROCESS OF MAKING ART DO FOR YOU? OR HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?
It's satisfying to bring an idea to life. My compositions are usually very planned out, so I know for the most part what I want the painting to look like before I've started it. But, despite that, while I'm painting I'm constantly making spontaneous choices about colour and I really enjoy the discoveries I make while playing with different colours. I feel particularly engaged when I'm working on a portrait and there's a real satisfaction in creating a piece for a client that will go beyond their expectations and be special for them.
Q. ARE THERE ANY RECURRING THEMES IN YOUR WORK?
People are the recurring theme in my work. Whether it be creating fictitious characters and scenarios or documenting a real person at a specific moment in time, I've always been drawn to faces and figures. The transient nature of life and our changing faces have always intrigued me. Impermanence and discovery a recurring themes in my work. And whether I'm painting a person or a street scene, light and shadow are a constant in my paintings. I love depicting glowing sunlight and the play of light and shadows.
Q. HOW DO YOU GET INSPIRED TO START A NEW PIECE?
A lot of the time, I get inspired by something or someone I've stumbled across: The play of light in an alleyway at the end of the day, or light hitting the right way on someone's face. When I see it, I want to capture it in a painting.
Q. WHERE HAS YOUR WORK BEEN SHOWN?
My work has been shown in public and commercial galleries as well as juried shows and fairs in Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Los Angeles, as well as being in a three-person exhibition at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, ON.
Q. WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK?
I'm a guest artist each September on the Uxbridge Studio Tour, and currently have work at Shane Norrie Contemporary in Stratford, ON.