In an era where you can create nearly anything you can imagine with the click of a mouse and even paper can be made of pixels, it takes a brave individual to try and make a career out of traditional art forms. Fortunately, 30-year-old Brooklyn painter Daniel St. George is one of the few with enough passion and imagination to continue to create gorgeous pieces using a palate of paints and brushes rather than one of Photoshop and Illustrator.
St. Georgeâ€™s paintings take the viewer on a trip through a bizarre, dreamlike world in which he expresses himself through a variety of odd creatures and landscapes. Recently, Daniel gave Format the opportunity to step inside his exceptionally creative head and take a look around.
“I just want to make bigger and better things fueled by the desire to create and share my little mundane life with the world through these little cryptic notes to myself.”
Format: What inspires your work or fuels you to create your art?
Daniel: Right now, I just want to make bigger and better things, fueled by the desire to create and share my little mundane life with the world through these little cryptic notes to myself. However, when I was younger â€“ around the age of 17 through 22-ish â€“ I was fueled by disdain towards my father, because he told me I would never amount to anything and so I created art. Back then it was more out of spite than anything else.
Format: A lot of your work depicts rather surreal and unusual characters and imagery. What do these characters and the environment they exist in mean to you?
Daniel: The surrealist world and its inhabitants are my own reflections on my past and what is currently going on in my life. A large majority of my work deals with the struggles of love and the feeling of rejection. A lot of the environments are isolated landscapes of caves and water, with slim characters in the background lurking sadly, wanting someone or something to save them from there own insecurities and misdeeds. No certain character within this world is more important than others; at times they can be self-detrimental, inflicting pain and suffering on themselves through masochistic behavior.
Format: Another common feature in your artwork is written words and poetry. Do you write them yourself? And if so, are they written before or after you begin the piece?
Daniel: The vast majority of the writing are my own, however sometimes I will write lines from movies, conversations or music into the work, itâ€™s an odd little mixture. In my larger paintings the writing also tends to be written out of order, randomly scattered all over the piece. This might be due to my dyslexic behavior.
The writing itself is a kind of footnote to actually what is going on beneath the surface of the paint. Sometimes I start the work with an idea of what Iâ€™m going to write, sometimes I write before I start painting, other times I add text at the end. All the work is inspired by the life I live, and how I am feeling when I am working on a piece.
Format: How do you think expressing oneself through art compares to, say, expressing oneself through music or literature?
Daniel: Unlike writing, I feel I can be more honest and people really have to look at my work and make their own minds up to what they are seeing. I feel that music and literature must normally do this, however I donâ€™t think art has to. It does have to be direct, but there is a lot of room for the viewer to f
ind their own truths and vision within a piece of work.
Format: As our society moves further and further into the digital age, do you think art will continue to remain relevant? Do you think a physical medium like painting will ever be truly replaced or made obsolete by graphics programs?
Daniel: I donâ€™t think painting has anything to do with relevancy anymore. It is now more than ever about human expression, and how a painting is a one of a kind tangible object. Digital work is meant to reach the masses, similar to the printing press. Iâ€™m sure a lot of people thought newspapers and other early print work would be detrimental to painting and other fine art media, but itâ€™s still here today.
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