Norm Daniels Interview

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Norm Daniels is a veteran surfer and painter living in San Diego who has worked with surfing legends including LeRoy Grannis and Greg Noll. We recently spoke with Norm about his career and wanted to share his story with you. 1. What is your name and when did you start painting? My name is Norm Daniels. I feel as if I have been painting since my birth, in fact I think Mom tells people I was born with a paint brush in one hand and a surfboard in the other. Ouch 2. Why did you start painting? I love it. It is all that simple. My father was a great cartoonist and he inspired me to draw. I love to make impossible concepts possible in my "toons" and to paint the beauty of the world in which we get to live. When I paint "en plein air"... I get to know the place so much better then I could with a camera and I always meet so many people that also enjoy the art. 3. What are some of your favorite moments in your career? For several years I got to hang my artwork in the Trade Show booth of the Legendary Big Wave Pioneer Greg Noll. HOW COOL IS THAT?!!! He is such a great guy and we have become friends over the years. Through Greg, I met so many surf legends and others who love the sport and enjoy Greg's beautiful custom surfboards. What a guy. Also, for a couple of years I got to illustrate two cartoons per month in Surfer Magazine. Each month they would publish a story written by Dave Parmenter and I would illustrate some part of it. The stories are hilarious. It was a dream come true to work with Surfer... In the shadow of John Severson and Rick Griffin, the men who started "Surf Art". 4. What do you think is the future of your industry? I will always paint and draw even if no one buys anything. It is such a joy to do. The business side of the "Art Industry" is an enigma to me. I am not terribly good at self promotion or marketing, so that is probably why my "business" is small. I hope that people will continue to buy art for their homes and I realize that it is a luxury item so it means a lot to me when I get a commission or sell something out of the galleries. What is the future?  Who knows, really? The Industry is kind of fickle and often follows the lead of some "marketed personality". Not sure I will ever find that kind of identity, and that is fine with me. So I will continue to paint the things I enjoy and be thankful that others enjoy them too. 5. If you could, what is one thing would you do differently? I wish I had studied art in college. My major was Architecture and it was a great help to my concepts of design and composition... but I would like to know better more about color theory. Trial by error is a great way to learn, but it is a slow school master. So I study a lot of other artists, living and passed. 6. What is some advice for young artists trying to have a career like yourself? Don't give up. Practice, Practice, Practice. Learn from others and ask questions. Draw all the time you can. Carry a sketchpad with you and leave the eraser in the trash can. Paint every day. Edit your paintings, (In other words, scrape off or throw away the bad ones) Don't worry about not being in galleries or not selling like Kincade... just keep going and get better and better. Soon enough your work will be noticed and you will sell. Like Ken Auster, (master plein air artist and my art mentor) says... "The harder I work, the luckier I get". 7. What is the next big project you have planned? The next big project? Well, if the ancients are right and the world ends this year then I plan on maxing out my credit cards. :) I suspect they just ran out of room on their calendars so I think I will continue to paint and explore new ways to get the images out there. I would love to be in a gallery in my home town of San Diego this year and I would love to do a monthly cartoon again, (like the Surfer gig) I want to continue making my 3-D TiKi ToOnS. People like them and they are fun to make. And It would be nice to travel to Europe to paint in Provance and Tuscany or Vienna and Venice. And... I would like to open in a gallery in Maui next year too. Lastly, I want to become a better husband, father, friend and painter... so I better take my own advice and Practice, Practice, Practice. Aloha.


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