Artist Interviews 2022
By Rebecca Adele
Dani Wilson is a self taught abstract artist from Maryland and Ohio. She has overcome many obstacles in her life starting from a young age. Wilson is now living her dream, doing what she loves as she continues to heal. Not only does she create beautiful and unique abstract paintings, she has a wearable art collection that is hand-painted with care. She has numerous interviews out now and a feature in the book “The Great International Yearbook for Contemporary Art” releasing in October.
You create these beautiful abstract pieces that are so vibrant and full of life. How do you choose your designs and how do you know when a piece is complete?
First of all let me say thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your awesome magazine. I truly appreciate this opportunity to connect with your readers. When I start a painting I never begin with a design in mind, it starts with a feeling. It sometimes begins with a scribble or a block of color. Then I’ll add smudges, sharp lines or funky shapes. That’s how it all starts coming together. In an ideal world I would know when my painting is finished. When I cannot see a clear way to improve my piece then I know that it’s done. I am absolutely over the moon in love with color. That is the truth. I love color. That’s why my paintings have an average of 7-10 colors in them. Except my black and white pieces of course. My artwork should evoke emotions of happiness and well-being as well as being uplifting and energetic. I recently graffiti painted my foyer floor, it is bursting with energy and greets me every time I walk through the door.
You're from Maryland and Ohio? Can you tell me more about your upbringing and your past with creating art?
I am. We moved around a lot while I was growing up. It was actually my father who first noticed my artistic ability and he enrolled me in classes when I was 8. The thing that was amazing about this was that I was told I painted like an adult. My first painting was a troll sitting under a mushroom on a piece of wood. My father absolutely cherished that, he hung it right next to his armoire in his bedroom. I would still have my first painting if my sister hadn’t burned our house down when I was 19 when a cigarette my sister was smoking caught the house on fire. My painting and all of our belongings were lost. My childhood was a good childhood until I was 12 and witnessed the death of my father. After he died there wasn’t anyone to encourage me anymore. I took classes for a few years and painted and then my dad died. I did not pick up a paint brush again until many years later when I got sober in 2016. After getting sober I didn’t know what to do with myself and I started watching youtube videos. I realized I had a lot of bottled up emotions and was afraid I would drink or use again, so I needed to make sure I spent my time constructively. I started painting again and what came out even surprised me. I don’t know if it comes from an actual artistic ability or bottled up emotions that never got out. Once I started painting, I never stopped.
As a contemporary artist, what's been the most challenging part getting your work out there and into the art scene?
Due to the highly competitive nature of the art world I experience challenges at times because of the fact that I am a self-taught artist and have never been to art-school. I was 47 when I started painting again. Also I’m not a very technical person, and that’s been one of the roadblocks to getting my art out there. Opportunities like this interview are incredibly helpful and getting my artwork out there.
Your pieces express emotions based on the colors and designs, how do you come up with the titles for them?
I don’t always title my paintings. Sometimes they speak for themselves. But when I do I want something creative, foreign, maybe humorous, but always something unique. Sometimes I look at my painting and I get a feeling. Sometimes I’ll see words in the scribbles.
You stated that you've recovered from PTSD and addiction, how has art and media you used helped with that?
My art grounds me and gives me coping skills. Artistic creativity contributes directly to me working through my past trauma. There are many accomplished artists who have suffered from traumatic childhoods. I use paint to express myself instead of anger. Art can really help people who suffer from other illnesses too like cancer and other diseases. When I create something beautiful it’s through the painting that stimulates my mind while relieving my mental strain. My artwork gives me the ability to cope with negative emotions and remain a happy, sober and functional person.
You not only create beautiful paintings but also create gorgeous pieces of jewelry that are unique and seem to express your style and voice as an artist. Can you tell me more about how you started to make jewelry?
I absolutely love statement pieces of jewelry and I could never find anything that spoke to me. so I started making my own. That’s how I started. Every piece of jewelry is a wearable piece of art. Each piece is hand painted and one of a kind. I want people to feel special when they wear my pieces and I also want them to be passed down through generations. Some of my pieces are actual heirloom pieces. I want people to feel special when they wear my pieces.
I don't know a whole lot about jewelry making and you state that you have hand painted statement pieces. What goes into that?
When I sit down to create pieces for my wearable art collection, I’m always thinking “unique.” I want each piece of jewelry to be like no other, an absolute one of a kind. I use the highest quality paints and parts for my pieces, so they will last several life times. Whenever I wear a piece from my collection, I constantly get asked “where did you get that!” Also, my pieces look expensive, but my prices are very affordable because I want women to be able to afford a beautiful piece of wearable art.
You are a self taught artist and now teach others. Do you think there is anything you can't learn on your own?
A foreign language, and a musical instrument. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be able to play the guitar and speak in another language, but I’m too busy right now trying to promote myself. Maybe someday.
You will be featured in a book this October, what else is coming up for you?
My artwork has recently been published in an international book, Art Anthology lll, and I have several interviews and a podcast interview soon, that I’m really excited about. The book was a big deal for me because they featured both my paintings and my wearable art collection. Recently TJMaxx bought a piece of my artwork to mass produce for their Homegoods stores. I’m super excited about all of the wonderful things that are happening with my artwork and wearable art collection.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
When you truly want something and go after it without limiting yourself with disbelief, the universe will make it happen. You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.