Liverpool painter Danny O’Connor is making a statement with his gorgeous, Pollockesque canvases.
By utilizing elemental juxtaposition, Danny is able to create complex and hefty pieces that touch on themes like life, death, and growth with a unique kind of vibrancy. When his work isn’t touching on deeper existential concepts and motifs, they’re paying homage to the beauty of femininity and nature. There is a captivating structure to Danny’s pieces that give them an unmistakable verve and aesthetic, so much so, that he has been commissioned by several individuals and establishments to paint murals, portraits, and other pieces.
Danny tells me more about himself, the themes he selects, and the Yin Yang approach he uses for his art.
Prox: What do you think it was that drew you to painting over other mediums? What are some others you’ve experimented with?
Danny: As a child I always loved to draw so painting seemed like the most natural progression. I still enjoy drawing using graphite or charcoal and I also experiment a little with digital art, mainly using Photoshop.
Prox: You seem to have an affinity for female subjects. What is it about feminine features and energies that inspire you?
Danny: They seem to sit well with how I approach my work. They are beautiful, soft and delicate which contrasts nicely with the sense of raw grittiness I achieve through the application of the paint on the surface. I think there is scope for me in the future to move away from the female face and figure as a main source of subject matter but at this moment in time I still feel I haven’t quite exhausted the options along this theme.
Prox: What are some of the most prevalent symbols and themes found within your pieces and what is the significance of them?
Danny: Some of the most recurring uses of symbolism are in my use of birds and floral elements. I see them as a representation of life, freedom, and growth. Then to juxtapose that I often incorporate skulls into the work, representing death, danger and decay. The skulls and skeletons also taps into my interest in layers and what lies beneath the facade.
A common theme that runs through my work is a sense of energy. We live in a time where the world is moving so fast and as an artist I want to create work that represents the age in which we live. I also have a thing for contrasts. I want the paintings to feel futuristic yet traditional, messy yet clean. It’s art based on the yin yang philosophy of opposing elements working in harmony.
Prox: You’re a pretty avid martial artist as well. Has any of the practices that you’ve learned throughout your studies helped to improve your art?
Danny: I studied karate from a very young age. I was quite a hyperactive little bugger as a child so it helped me develop a focus and level of commitment which is transferable within anything you do, not just art.
Prox: What are you trying to give the world or say with your art? Is there a particular credo that you live by when it’s comes to your pieces?
Danny: As I mentioned earlier, I like the idea of opposite elements being used together, but I would never be shackled by a philosophy. I just paint what I want, how I want. I wouldn’t say I’m consciously giving a message to the world, I just try to lose myself within the process and paint from the soul. If I have too many preconceived notions about how or what I’m going to paint I find it restricting, I need that option to take the painting wherever it needs to go as it develops. So hopefully when you paint from the heart some people will connect to it in their own way. I like the idea that ten different people can take ten different perspectives from a piece and I wouldn’t want to spoon feed people with an explanation regarding each work. A certain level of ambiguity is always more fun in my opinion.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
Danny: I’m really digging Daniel Richter at the moment. I love the fact his work is so trippy, weird and surreal like an alternative reality. It gives a sense of a dream like world. He paints with fearlessness and freedom yet manages to retain a level of craftsmanship which makes the pieces work.
Prox: Favorite hobbies?
Danny: Spending time with my family, football, and getting drunk. In that order :P
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
Danny: Be inspired by others but always strive to be unique.
Prox: Information on upcoming releases and projects?
Danny: I’m just about to start work on a series of portraits featuring icons of musical history commissioned by barfly ventures in the U.S. I’m also showing work in various shows and art fairs with my gallery “Villa Del Arte” and I’m taking part in a group show curated by Fresco Art Magazine in Rhode Island. They have a focus on commissioning large scale street art murals so hopefully that’s on the horizon in the not too distant future.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Danny: Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
You can learn more about Danny, follow him on social media, and purchase his work, here.
Want to stay updated on new interviews and posts? Head over to the Inside the Rift Facebook page and leave a like or follow me on Twitter @insidetheriftx, Instagram @insidetherift, and Soundcloud @Insidetherift!