Daniel Anselmi and I connected online last year and I would see one of his latest works pop up in my Facebook feed every couple of days. I was very drawn to his use of shapes and colors, as well as the mixed media aspect of his pieces. We scheduled a studio visit a couple of weeks ago and I was able to see his sweet little space up above a hardware store in Belfast. Daniel's journey to where he is now is different from most artists, and I think will prove to many that an artistic career can be achieved at any point in your life.
Daniel has done a lot in a short amount of time with his work and is very inspiring. Check out more photos from his studio and work process below, and read his Q&A to find out more!
Have you always been a creative individual?
Yes. I have always had my mind centered on the visual. As a child, I preferred what I call non-traditional toys to play with. I got much more artistic stimulation from objects found on the beach than-store bought toys. It really came naturally at an early age. Even during my corporate career, I still took time to be a creative person.
You mentioned you started your artistic career in the last decade. Can you tell us a little about how this all came about and what prompted you to start creating this type of work?
My last career prior to moving to Maine was as a Visual Coordinator for Bloomingdale’s. It was a phenomenal job that allowed me to use my creative talents on a daily basis. I really believe that my time in that field led me to working in the collage style. I love the acts of placement and editing to arrive at visual harmonies. That creative process still lives with me today with my work practice. A few years after we moved here, a close friend who ran a gallery asked me if I would consider doing a show of my work. That show really prompted me to continue on the path I now walk. It was a breakthrough moment that pushed me to do my own work, rather than work for somebody else.
What has been the biggest struggle in your artistic career?
I feel blessed to say that I really don’t feel any struggle. I have been extremely fortunate on my work being well received, and that I have the opportunity at this point in my life to dedicate myself to doing exactly what I love. I guess the only struggle I have is what all artists struggle with: cost of materials, studio space (never enough) and the internal struggle an artist has to challenge oneself. That challenge never goes away.
What has been the best thing you’ve done for your creative career?
One of the best things that happened for my career is receiving the Monhegan Artist Residency Fellowship in 2013. It was a truly life-changing experience for me. I was able to discover who I am and what I am as an artist. The Residency made a profound mark on my future career as an artist. Equally important for my creative career was to get a studio outside of my home. The physical act of going to the studio daily really instills a sense of duty and commitment.
How has living in Maine influenced your work?
I think because we have changing seasons here in Maine, as an artist you really focus on certain visuals throughout the year. The bare bones of winter bring out shapes and lines. Spring and summer highlight colors. Fall has its own beauty and melancholy. A large part of my work produced is during the winter months. Solitude can be a very good thing.
Where do you find your inspiration? What are your biggest influences?
Definitely from nature. I have been asked in the past where I get my shapes from that appear in my art. Certain shape resonate with me that I have enjoyed seeing in nature and have expanded on in my work. Daily influences affect my work also. I can come across a particular color, or combination of colors in nature, and that will start the process. Also, daily walks will bring about visual dialogue. Of course, numerous artists whose work I admire can influence me. Fashion, design, and architecture all play a role as well.
What does a typical day of creating look like for you?
Usually when I get to the studio I have already planned out my day. If it is a day where I am painting paper in preparation of future work then it is very relaxed. Music, coffee breaks, and visitors; any interruptions are welcomed. However, on days when my studio time is dedicated to creating actual finished work I really demand solitude. I even warn my partner to stay away! A full days’ work during that time can be draining, both mentally and physically. The day can go by in a blink. Then of course there are days I will just go to think and explore what is living in my head. My studio really is my own private world.
Where do you see yourself and your art in 10 years?
I hope that 10 years from now I can look back at my current work and see how much I have grown. I am a firm believer that an artist should always be evolving. My work was dramatically different years ago, and my work now reflects that journey. Years from now, I really couldn’t say what I will be producing. That is the best part of it all.
Thank you Daniel!!
Fine Daniel here: