I’m thrilled to introduce one of my favourite artists, Danielle Cross. Not only is Dani an incredible artist, she’s also extremely well travelled, and has amazing summer style. I stumbled across her work on Instagram a while back, and I’ve been crushing on it (and her!) ever since. With her recent exhibition ‘Provocateur’ revealing some of her best work yet, there was no better time to sit down for a chat to find out more about Dani, her art and her love of island life travel.
Laura: I’ve been a big fan of your art for a while now, but I’m particularly excited about your latest work ‘Provocateur’. How would you best describe this collection?
Dani: A thought provoking concept of connections, desire, passion, temptation and imagination. Commitment and infidelity. Affairs of the heart, affairs of the head.
Laura: What was the inspiration behind ‘Provocateur’?
Dani: Mirrors were the starting point for ‘Provocateur’, what we see and what we choose to see. Our connections, our desires, our urges. The taboo subject matter of infidelity be it, emotionally, sexually, intellectually or spiritually. The notion that an affair is more about turning away from the person that we have become, and looking for another self. Manifesting the other parts in us. Mirrors see our reflections, flaws, strengths, weaknesses, desires and wants.
Exhibition photography by Skyline Creative.
Laura: What was your creative process developing these works?
Dani: There are lot of creative, manic moments, brainstorming. The storytelling and emotions of the concept are played out in my mind first. The art is all about evoking a feeling or emotion in the viewer. In order for my role as the artist to work, I need to take on the character from all viewpoints. I interviewed a lot of people, while they were unaware they were being interviewed! I ask lots of questions and observe people’s interactions.
Laura: The ocean plays a big role in your work, especially this latest collection. How does it inspire you creatively?
Dani: Water is the ultimate contradiction. All is not what it seems. What appears on the surface can be the total opposite underneath. It is also a constant with strong grounding factors. The perfect storm. Full of shadows, movement, complexities, changes and reflections. Our human smoke and mirrors.
Laura: If you could have your art hanging on the wall of anyone’s home, whose would it be?
Dani: DR DRE. For his genius and the way he literally sees music. Creating artistic Intrigueiwithin his layered musically intrigue. Music plays a prominent role when I create my concepts and art. It transports you and can also keep you still in time. The silences in between the moments. Nothing else can silence my mind sometimes!
Laura: How long have you been a visual artist for and was photography always a big part of it?
Dani: Seriously over the last 8 years. My background was interior design having studied at Enmore Design Centre. I have always used my painting as my creative outlet. After living overseas and interstate, I did a one-off art exhibition in Sydney which lead me to where I am today. Sliding doors moment.
Photography was a personal outlet during a difficult time losing one of my best friends. It came at a time when I lost the passion to paint, I suppose that is what grief can do to you. Painting felt so raw and exposed at a time when I was fighting just that. Photography has a lightness to it that made me comfortable in the uncomfortable moments. The fluid nature of being able to digitally edit gave me a freedom escape. The way the camera captures light and shadows, much like the human element in it. The camera became the paintbrush.
Laura: What type of camera do you shoot with?
Dani: Currently it is the Canon EOS M6.
Laura: How important is Instagram for promoting your art?
Dani: Instagram has changed the goal posts for artists and the industry. It has created a constant curated visual grid and storyline. Art needs to speak a language. Instagram has created the perfect platform for art and the artist who creates it to reach a far wider audience. The viewer can take a glimpse into the artist world, you can feel as though you know the artist and what makes them tick. It is powerful.
Laura: You’ve travelled extensively throughout Asia, Europe and Australia. How much does travel inspire your work?
Dani: Travel is the perfect antidote for our realities. Travel creates storylines. Travel takes us to foreign places and foreign mindsets. This is when the senses take over and the real magic happens. These experiences are felt and transported back into the studio and into my art concepts. Through visually seeing new perspectives in the places you visit, new emotions are formed and that is what comes back to the studio with me. How you feel when experiencing those places is where all good concepts are formed.
Laura: What are your top three island destinations?
Dani: Karma Kandara- Ungasan… cliffs and Beaches… BALI
Taling Ngam Koh Samui- a world away… THAILAND
Isola Bella (Taormina)… SICILY
Laura: Your studio is based in Sydney in the beautiful Eastern Suburbs. Do you have a favourite local beach?
Dani: My all time favourite beach is Clovelly, it must be the Italian in me as I love swimming off the concrete! Having made a move south I also call North Cronulla beach home where I love to stand up paddle board out the back. It really is my quiet place to think about nothing. Good for the soul and hard for an Aries artist!
Laura: What’s your go-to summer drink?
Dani: Aperol Spritz and a good French Rosé.
Laura: I follow your Instagram @danielle_cross not just for your art, but also for your amazing summer style. What’s your favourite swimwear brand?
Dani: That is a hard one, my standard rotation is Fella Swim , Zulu & Zephyr and Billabong, Ripcurl. I am continually mixing it up from solid colour bikinis, the patterns, to high cut one pieces, Love the 90’s look!
Laura: Do you have any exciting bikini-weather trips coming up?
Dani: Actually. Karma Kandara Bali in a few weeks, and hoping for an Italian island getaway later in the year to Salina, where my family heritage is! Also next on the list is the Maldives!
Laura: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring three things, what would they be?
Dani: Camera, Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ book, pasta (go crazy without it, bloody Mediterranean!) And my family would already be on the island!
Laura: What’s next for your art?
Dani: Working on my new collection called HOUSE OF CARDS, which centres around the dance of a boxing match. The launch will be unlike any other art event. Stay tuned.
Also, off to Hong Kong to shoot a new collection with the super cool guys Skyline Creative and some exciting collaborations in the pipeline.