Artist Interview: Daniel Silverman

Our new Artist being featured in the shop currently is a gentleman by the name of Daniel Silverman. It was actually my accountant that introduced me to him. Just further proof that gals that are hardcore into numbers are far more awesome than you think.

I tried so very hard to edit down his interview to a manageable length but I just can’t do it. It wouldn’t be right. His sarcasm and personality really shine through here and for me to NOT share that with you would be wrong. Just plain wrong.

Daniel is among the Cherry Blossom age group for our features and his medium preference includes Pencil, Ink, and both 2 & 3D Digital work. His pieces really speak for themselves when it comes down to talent and his personality is just as bright as his talent. Currently you can find his work displayed at CUPS in Grandin, too.  Take a read through his interview and then come check out his work in person – my photography skills definitely do not do them justice.


Business Name:             Enupnion

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ALBH: How did you get started in your art?

DS: I’ve drawn all my life. My earliest memories aren’t of me with mommy or daddy, but of drawing. I drew what I could see and also the strange things that appeared in my head. My parents should have wondered about my sanity after seeing the things I was putting down on paper.

ALBH: Was your medium hard to learn?
DS: That depends on which medium we’re talking about here. When it comes to pencil drawing, I took to it quite naturally. However, I am still learning my craft. I think that art is a lifelong pursuit. Digital art, on the other hand, is certainly a newer form for me (even though I have been doing it for over a decade). When I was growing up we didn’t have personal computers. And when they were just starting to creep their way into people’s homes, we only had two colors to work with (black and white or black and amber). I remember getting excited when my dad bought me an Apple II+ that had a full 16 colors on it! I was in love! Now we have more colors than the eye can see, can draw by hand using a tablet and, of course, do wonderful and creative things with 3D computer graphics. I love combining traditional and digital media, too.

ALBH: What materials do you use? Do you use different materials when working with different mediums?
DS: I’m a bit different when it comes to my pencil drawings. Many pencil artists seem to like to have a variety of pencils and various high quality papers. Me? I like a standard #2 pencil for the most part. And, in many case, copy paper works wonderfully well. For inks, though, I like a nice Rapidograph pen. Having various sized tips is essential to proper inking.

Now, my computer is my baby when it comes to digital work. I’m addicted to the thing! Come between me and my machine and we’ve got issues! I use a variety of tools for creating digital work. These include Photoshop for 2D and a program called modo for 3D work. There are a variety of other tools that I use as well. Oh! Yeah, I use a PC, not a MAC. Not against MACs at all, but when I first started doing digital artwork a lot of the software I needed was not available on the MAC. So I ended up, by default, using a PC. I know, I know. It’s not very “Hippy” of me to be using a PC instead of a MAC.

ALBH: I can’t even draw stick figures so asking for my own sake is pointless – but how long have you been at this?
DS: All my life. But professionally? About a decade.

ALBH: As a buyer, how would I care for one of your pieces?
DS: Framed pieces just need to be kept clean. Direct sunlight can fade the prints. Unframed pieces need to be protected, too. So getting them a nice frame home would make the unframed pieces very happy. And sacrifice a hamster from time to time. This keeps the demons in them from coming out and disturbing the neighbors.

ALBH: Do you make a variety of items or do you stick with your mediums when the creation bug bites?
DS: Yes. I like to work in many styles from comic book (especially superhero comic styles) to ultra-realistic. I work in traditional pencil and inks and also digitally (and there, both 2D and 3D). But I also like to get my hands dirty every once in a while and do something different in order to learn and, more importantly, have fun. For example, I am getting ready to make a custom bobble head from Sculpey, a type of specialty modeling clay. I rarely get to work on actual, physical 3D stuff, so this is going to be loads of fun for me.


ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?
DS: To become famous, rich and rule the world! No. Not really. My goal, actually, is to continue to improve myself. Artists tend to see all their mistakes in all of their work and never seem to be satisfied with what they have created. Leonardo Da Vinci  said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” This is so true. There comes a time when the artist just needs to stop trying to “fix” a piece and leave it alone. I also want to experiment with some different mediums to expand my artistic horizons. And I want to challenge myself by doing things like creating a graphic novel, creating the artwork for an pencil and paper RPG (Role Playing Game) and other endeavors that I have not embarked on before. I’ll be frank. Thinking of creating something like a graphic novel is very scary to me. And that is exactly why I want to do it. I like to face my fears.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?
DS: Hmmm. What does it mean to you? It seems that each of us has their own definition. I suppose what is important is that we embrace what we believe and act on that. Wait? Does that sound like a cop out? It’s not. That’s my definition of a “Hippy.” Which is someone who has a belief and acts upon it. So many people seem to not know what they really believe and just stumble through life.

ALBH: What advice do you have to offer other artists?
DS: Run for the hills!

Art is about passion. But it is also about fear. Artists never seem to get down on paper or canvas what they see in their heads and they often view this as failure. This produces fear in the mind of the artist: fear that their work is not good, fear that people will see the flaws and reject their work (which the artist believes is a rejection of themselves, etc). One advice I have for artists is to go and buy the book, Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This is a must-have book for artists and it will help them to change their perspective on their art and themselves.

Artists should also practice, practice, practice. And artists should try new things as often as they can. Artists should also look at other artists’ work and talk to other artists. We can all learn from each other.

ALBH: What’s your favorite part of your craft?
DS: Bringing an idea to life. And, sometimes, being surprised as that idea takes on a life of its own as it’s in the process of being created.

ALBH: What’s your least favorite part of your craft?
DS: Failing. I hate when I have a really cool idea and, for whatever reason, I cannot get it out of my head and onto whatever medium I am working in. Ugh!

ALBH: Have you ever or would you be willing to teach others?
DS: Sure. By teaching, I learn. So I get to help others and, in the process, help myself. That sounded pretty “Hippy,” didn’t it?

ALBH: What is your typical day like?
DS: Get up (and wish I didn’t have to), drink coffee (because its good and because my brain cells refuse to fire without some good coffee), sit down and plan out the day. What I do depends a lot on my clients’ needs. However, I try to divide my day into four parts: 1) personal work and goals, 2) client work, 3) training, and 4) play. Personal work is about working on things that I want to accomplish for myself (like the graphic novel I want to create one day). Client work is just that: working on things that my clients are paying me for. Training is vitally important. I use this part of my day to refresh my current skills as well as learn new ones. And training can be really fun. It’s not just sketching and things like that. For example, I might fire up a video game and play it for the purpose of learning how it was made. Play is also vitally important, too. I use play as a reward for getting the other three things finished.

ALBH: What do you do for fun, outside of your art?
DS: Fun? Art is fun! But you know that. I play video games, read a lot of books, write (I’ve written a sci-fi/fantasy novel that is due to be published early this year), kick the local outdoor cats … wait … I don’t do that (I like cats), play WII with my girlfriend, watch TV and movies. I find a lot of ideas and inspiration in TV and movies. I used to play role playing games like Dungeon and Dragons a long time ago. I’ve been thinking of getting back into that, too. In fact, I’m in the process of creating my own game.

ALBH: What is your draw to your specific craft?
DS: My pencil. Get it. “Draw.” Okay. That was bad. I just love ideas and I love to create. And drawing allows me to get those ideas out of my head and into a place where others can see them, too. Nothing like being able to share my twisted, demented ideas visually with others, you know.