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Chopping Block: Steven Daily

In an age when we have unlimited access to a ridiculous amount of talent from artists of all walks of life, and all levels of expertise, It’s not always easy sniffing out the ones worth following. Well guys, here is one for you: Steven Daily. The Los Angeles resident has used a steady hand and style to place an easily identifiable fingerprint on the art scene. Entities such as Disney, Sony, HBO and more have picked up on the uniqueness of Mr. Daily’s craft, recruiting him for a number of projects. Daily’s artistic journey is intricately threaded with poetic elements and a provocative style. Entranced by his captivatingly haunting artwork, We were curious find out more about his journey thus far.

Steve Daily Fine artists prints on wood

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POW: What would be the single most pressing message you want to convey to all viewers of your artwork?

Daily: I just want to make people think, not just make eye candy. There’s a lot in this world that we don’t see, that's in plain site. I like to explore these things and open those up to the reader to get a response. I think great art creates an emotion a feeling, whether good or bad, you should feel something.

Disorder fine art custom wood printing
Disorder by Steven Daily

POW: In the beginning of your career, your work with the likes of Disney and HBO helped establish your notoriety, what was the most challenging project for you and how were you able to push through it?

Daily: I think the most challenging project I worked on with Disney was, The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. I did three preliminary sketches which were all turned down, then revised, and brought up again. I was supposed to create interpretive art based on the red queen from the cartoon, Alice in Wonderland, from the 50’s, I believe. If you have seen the movie, you know she is kinda overweight, has a face like Fred Flintstone and a tiny crown nose. Also, The Tim Burton Alice in wonderland had just come out, and those designs were off limits. So I used Delta Burk, from Designing Women as a reference. She is a pretty full figured, voluptuous woman, so I thought perfect fit and submitted the design. After a few revisions, she was approved. I began to paint her, taking in progress shots at different stages: fifty percent, 75 percent, etc. All of a sudden, they wanted to revert back to my first original design. The art director Chris Jackson fought for the design, and we kept painting. after a few color tweaks, we submitted the final. Around four to five months later, we got a pass. They thought the design was not appealing or Disney enough to approve. So that was that. It was done, or so i thought. I decided I was done trying to do a red queen piece. However I ended up selling the piece to a private collector, so it worked out.

Steven Daily fine artistManifest by Steven Daily

POW: While browsing through your artwork, I can’t help but notice the intense focus on the human form, facial features or simply anatomy. What brought about this interest in the subject?

Daily: I love to people watch, and I love to draw from life. There is something organic that happens when drawing the human form from life. You tend to shed all the hang ups, sexual thoughts, and attention to nakedness of the model and begin to concentrate on the form, light, and shadow dancing around the page capturing the pose. You're now thinking only of what you are drawing from what you see; every little worry falls away-its cathartic. I took a few figure classes at Riverside City College with Dayna Mason Gregg, a brilliant teacher. I just fell in love with it. I used to think the realest you can get is what makes an artist great, so I concentrated real hard on anatomy and figure to grow my ability. Only later to find out I found hyper-realism too boring for me to pursue.

oath by steven daily fine art on wood Oath by Steven Daily

POW:  Can you tell us about one technique or style that you would like to experiment with and why?

Daily: I’d like to be looser, try texture, less rendered. I’d like to do some real large works, in oil. like museum size. I tend to like to do a lot of over rendering, and over kill.

messenger by steven daily fine artMessenger by Steven Daily

POW: In addition to creating art on canvas and wood, you also spray paint illustrations that possess a crazy amount of detail. Does spray-painting have any advantage to it that you might prefer?

Daily: In the early nineties, I got into Graffiti through skateboarding. It was the first art I was ever excited about, all though excited isn’t the word actually. Graffiti art took over my brain, I became it almost over night. The first time I was introduced to it was while watching a late movie, on ABC, I believe, real late at night. I don’t know if you remember that, but ABC had late night movies during the week. Anyway, it was a made for a T.V. teen drama called Dreams Never Die. It’s about these two kids in NYC: King, and his girlfriend, who take down a local under-age drug dealer. King, happens to be a subway bomber, anyway it just resonated with me. I had seen Beat Street and Break’n when I was a kid, but this was different. It wasn’t a ploy to market Hip-Hop to the youth of America as a package deal. This was before Rap, and break-dancing. This kid wrote his name everywhere, and was trying to be an artist as well. I remember thinking to myself I could do that and probably better. So I did. I stole some spray paint from a local hardware store, jumped a fence and painted the canal behind the parts I lived in. Later I began meeting up with kids in the street, through skateboarding and the like, who shared the same ideals, getting into one of the best crews Southern California has seen. Making life-long, like-minded friends and watching it become accepted and mainstream because of what we painted, making the way for the rise of street art. So spray painting has a special place in my heart. Whenever I can, I get out and spray-paint and value that time so much. It is so free and energizing, not to mention a work out at my age.

the nest client graffiti by steven dailyThe Nest Client by Steven Daily

POW: What would you be doing right now, if you weren’t a full time artist? Are there any other endeavors you wanted to pursue?

Daily: I wanted to be a professional skateboarder when I was younger. I skated for nearly 25 years. I realized towards the middle that I wasn’t nearly as good of a skater as I was an artist. I still push around sometimes but don’t find the time to that much anymore. I’m looking forward to teaching my son. I can’t wait till he’s old enough for me to buy him his first board. I think being a philosopher would be interesting-or maybe a archeologist. Indiana Jones, or something like that. I grew up in an age of cool, where being cool was more important than being smart. So i just kinda went through the motions in education. But as a 42 year old man I find this insatiable thirst for knowledge. I just want to learn more, read more, discover more, live in the moment more.

victim by steven daily fine art print on woodVictim by Steven Daily

POW:  Father, Husband, accomplished artist, You wear a lot of hats, and many more, I’m sure. What would you say has proved to be a challenge in maintaining these “hats” and what would you say has lead to your success in being able to do so?

Daily: We will start with father because wow...it has been an amazing experience. I never knew I would find so much joy in being a Dad. I think the challenge there has been being a "stay home, work from home" Dad. It’s nice that we don’t have to put him in daycare, but we are still trying to find our groove as far as studio time, and daddy time. Husband, I'll let you know when I figure that one out, it's a learning experience:) Accomplished artist, well thats awesome to hear. In my mind, I'm still the underdog hustling to stay afloat. As far as art as a career, to survive you have to wear many hats as you said.You have to be able to adapt, and be versatile at least for me anyway.  I do illustration, graphic design, murals which are like billboards for my art, fine art, and a little teaching now. For me, everything I did, learned, or tried was out of necessity to pay the bills, and keep the art career alive, and the lights on.

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For more information on Steven Daily please visit: http://www.stevendailyart.com/