Artist Interviews 2022
The Surgical Artist
By Laura Siebold
The Surgical Artist’s work was one of the more provocative art displays at The Other Art Fair’s spring 2022 edition in Los Angeles. Daryl, the artist behind the display, wants to challenge the public’s reaction to his expressive sexual art. His depiction of the female body as an object of art is refreshing, and realistic, courtesy of his profession in the medical field.
Using art as a creative outlet, The Surgical Artist aims to inspire people to take on “a different perspective”. In his interview, the self-taught artist reveals the piece he is most proud of, the teaching aspects of art fairs, and aspirations of his artistic legacy.
The Surgical Artist is based in New Jersey.
I saw your work at the previous edition of The Other Art Fair in Los Angeles and was intrigued by your play with femineity and sexuality and its transformation into art. The fair features many different kind of artists – from classic to experimental. What is your idea of art and where would you position yourself as an artist?
First and foremost, I wanna thank you for taking a liking to my art, I appreciate that so much. I think my art takes on many categories, but the one category that sticks out mostly would be Expressionism. Art is about energy, feelings, and emotion. I want my pieces to grab you and make you feel what the painting depicts. That little tingle in your stomach or the small exhale of breath after seeing a picture of a couple in the act of lovemaking displayed as a painting in public, almost feels [a] little taboo. Something simple as sex that everyone does turns into a thing where people feel they can’t really express liking the painting publicly because deep down it feels wrong. Those are the feelings I am after.
Your body of work focuses mostly on women. What made you focus on the female body as the center of your work?
Let’s be honest, it is no secret that the female body is the most carefully crafted, detailed work ever created. I am just an artist that uses his creative outlet in a way of giving all women their flowers. Every aspect of them from the cheekbones and lips, down to the back dimples and stretch marks. Every woman is created differently, and I enjoy putting that on canvas for the world to see.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? When did you start creating and did you receive specific art education? How would you characterize your style?
I don’t have a degree in art nor have much teaching in this field. I am a self-taught artist that paints what he feels at the moment. My dad was an artist and as a kid I have never seen my parents live together. I really got into art when I would visit my dad for the weekend and see all the unfinished pieces he was working on. It almost seemed like a new idea would come and he would just drop the last one and start a new project. I would try to imitate his paintings just to show him that [I] was good at something. As time went on, he stopped painting, and my art journey was just beginning.
You work in the medical field which is known to be stressful. Is art an outlet for you to process your experiences in this field and express your creativity in a different way?
The health field is definitely stressful, especially in the state the world is currently in right now. I wouldn’t say I paint because I am stressed at work, I paint because my creative brain won’t shut up. If I don’t get my creative thoughts out, I feel frustrated and will explode. I do thank the medical field for molding me as far as prioritizing and paying attention to detail. It really intrigued me once I really knew the anatomy of the human body, and now I can portray it on canvas.
In your opinion – what is the role of the artist in modern times?
I feel like the role of an artist is to inspire people, young and old. We help people see the world in a different perspective, it's all about perspective. A lot of times I get messages about people being inspired to pick up a brush again, or just to spark that creative side in them to just simply create.
Has the pandemic changed your way of expressing yourself as an artist?
I was a Frontline worker in the hospital, so work never stopped for me. I think the pandemic helped me find new way on how [to] reveal new pieces to a world that was stuck at home away from everyone. I started to buy a lot of film gear and filmed the creative process of the new pieces; people really took towards that. I even started a TikTok lol.
Which artwork are you most proud of to this day and why?
I think the piece I am most proud of is the Muhammad Ali oil painting titled “Float Like A Butterfly”. The reason this one means a lot to me is because I faced two challenges doing this piece. The first challenge was that I [had] never used oil paint before and this will be the first. The 2nd challenge was that I ha[d] never painted water before. If you know the famous picture of Muhammad Ali training under water, then you know I had some work cut out for me. I executed the piece and now people gravitate to that piece, like the vibrant colors pulls you in.
Have you ever collaborated with other artists? Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
I have never collaborated with an artist yet, but I am definitely up for it. I think I am more focused on collaborating with companies more than anything, like hotels, realtor companies, fashion brands, hospitality companies, etc. I just want to help break down that barrier for the art community.
What do you take away from fairs like The Other Art Fair? Does the interaction with visitors enrich your creativity?
I love the environment of The Other Art Fair; every artist should experience that. Sometimes, we as artists need feedback on collections and new pieces to really set the tone for the direction of your future creations. Just being there makes you feel like you have found your tribe in world of creative geniuses.
Life on Earth is ephemeral, but art has the power to transcend time. What do you wish to be your artistic legacy?
I want to be remembered as an artist who broke barriers and never censored his self to fit in a box that the world tries to put you in. I inspired and brought out the creative sides of the most closed off individuals. Tak[ing] them from the dark to the light, or should I say from the dark to colorful. We have only one life to live and if you don’t bless the world with your gift, your legacy will never live on.