We first discovered artist Daniel Anselmi’s work at the Hidell Brooks 20th anniversary exhibition in July. I was immediately drawn to the shapes and textures of Daniel’s work which reminds me of the style of Pablo Picasso. Who Daniel notes as one of his sources for artistic inspiration in this interview. The artist uses everything from old blueprints to canvas dropcloths from his studio floor to create his pieces and I’m very excited to see his latest works that will be featured in his October 5th exhibition at the Hidell Brooks Gallery.
My works on paper and canvas explore the use of paper as an ongoing dialogue between painting and collage. I use painted paper as one would handle a brush to elicit brushstrokes on canvas. Never using the new, I enjoy the felt quality of the discarded: blueprints, old ledgers, chart papers, and used canvas dropcloths are materials that offer an aesthetic conversation with my work. The paint I apply to these various materials, whether in large cut pieces or intimate fragments, and affix to already created surfaces, offers countless opportunities to express color, line, and form. Though sourced materials are not intended to be recognizable in these abstractions, sometimes surface traces remain that become a moment of discovery for the discriminating viewer. – Daniel Anselmi
When did you first become interested in art?
It really came naturally at an early age. I grew up in California, which I feel gave me my visual education as an artist. The colors, shapes, lines of the landscape, along with the encouragement from my family of my artistic endeavors, nurtured my passion for creating art.
Are there artists who inspire you?
Well, of course, the icons of art such as Picasso and Matisse, as well as countless Modernist masters. Artist friends, artists who I am aware of through social media, museum exhibitions, and gallery shows are equally important. Inspiration for me comes from nature, fashion, design, and architecture. Even a daily walk will start a dialogue from seeing a particular color or shape.
You create mixed media collages. Tell me about the process of creating one of your pieces.
It is quite a lengthy process. Usually, I will decide on a few color combinations that I have been contemplating about or certain shapes that strike me as interesting to work with. Next will be weeks of painting paper, including numerous layers and shades of colors of which I may use infrequently. Each piece then evolves during the time I am working on it, adding, covering up areas, developing the “push/pull” that the viewer may discover. Almost all of my finished pieces are dramatically different from what I have had in my mind when starting. I almost never create preliminary sketches prior to beginning work. I love a piece to evolve intuitively.
Where do you source the (blueprints, old ledgers, chart papers, and used canvas dropcloths) that you use to create your pieces?
I have had great luck from auctions, estate sales, and a nice network of people who help source materials for me. My studio practice is that I save everything. I have found remnants in my flat file that work their way into artwork years later. The drop cloth material is literally from my studio floor. It has a history behind it much like the paper I use.
How do you decide on the shapes included in your collages?
There are certain shapes that you will see repeat throughout my work. Much like nature, these shapes will have wide variations. When working on a piece, my shapes will change according to what, where, and how I want the movement to flow with the work. A curve or angle might change many times in each artwork’s development.
Do you tend to work on one piece at a time or several all at once?
Since my process is based on a certain color palette, I really concentrate on one work at a time. This allows me to be really committed to each work, and to make wonderful discoveries along the way.
Tell me about your artist studio.
I have been in my space for almost twelve years. Not big (of course all artists want more room!) but it works for me. I work on larger pieces on the wall, paint my paper on the floor, and use a square table for when I work on small collages. I also have a few chairs for relaxing, reviewing work and sitting with friends. I’m extremely messy when working, but always clean up after completing a piece. My studio is really my little world, all about me and my art. A true reflection of who I am.
You have an exhibition coming up at the Hidell Brooks Gallery this October. What did you enjoy the most about working with Katharine & Rebecca to prep for an exhibition?
Ever since my first contact with Katharine and Rebecca, they have been extraordinarily kind and professional.
In almost the year that I have known them, they have shown a genuine passion for what they do, which is reflected by the way they are dedicated to the gallery artists, as well as their clients. I am extremely happy to have connected with them.
Many artists have a piece in an exhibition that was either their favorite to create or the most challenging. Is there a piece that stood out to you as a personal favorite from the upcoming exhibition?
Of course, I enjoy all my work, each having a certain aspect that I really gravitate toward. For this exhibition, I think Untitled (6-29) is a piece that really describes me. The shapes, color, and movement all seem to exemplify my process; Inspiration, planning, editing, and surprises. It has everything that I am about.
Is there an emotion that you hope to evoke in those who view your art?
Hopefully, the viewer will see something different every time they look at my work; movement, energy, and shapes that perhaps remind them of something. My works are all untitled because I want the spectator to make his or her own discoveries.
Do you have any advice for young artists who are just beginning to explore the artistic world?
I think taking the time to figure out who you are, and to find your own voice is important. I have always been true to myself regarding my art, and never worry about whether my work fits into a trend. Just do your work authentically and people will know you are genuine.