Updated: Jul 21
Master of Fusion
BY Saashya Rodrigo
Painting: the act of using pigment to colour a surface. Sculpting: the act of casting, carving, or shaping a material, to create a 2D or 3D object. And then, there’s a extraordinary juxtaposition of the two: a beautiful collision of painting and sculpting, which I’d call the Daniel Curran effect.
Curran is an Atlanta-based artist, originally from Boston. Having lived in Virginia, California, Canada and Hawaii, Curran collected a wealth of knowledge and experience that has sculpted him into the artist he is today.
Sure, he’s a highly experienced artist, drawing and painting since childhood. Sure, he holds impressive technical qualifications in the field of fine arts, holding a degree from the Atlanta College of Art (now the notable Savannah College of Art and Design, more commonly known as SCAD). But Daniel Curran has a naturally artistic hand, and a wildly creative eye that experience, training and technical knowledge can only enhance. The quiet, friendly and incredibly humble Daniel Curran and I meet at a coffee shop. His business card – collected a few months ago, from a table of multiple other artists’ business cards, at the entrance of a shop – is sandwiched in a compartment in my wallet. The vibrancy of the image on his card initiated my interest in Curran’s work.
I refused to do much background research prior to the interview, because the images I saw of his work were too intriguing for me to walk in with a pre-determined idea of who Daniel Curran is. I begin our conversation with only the memory of his paintings to lead my questions, which helps me develop an authentic understanding of Curran and his artistic process, as told by the artist himself.
His artwork merges sculpture with painting, such that each piece is drenched in texture. His transition from using mellow, earthy tones to striking, bright ones is much like his transition from oil to acrylic paints. It signified a transition in his life; from a time of self-discovery, to a time of self-exploration. The phase of self-discovery allowed Curran to move slowly, as one would with slow-drying oil paints; each feeling, each experience blending into the other and drying over time, to form a landscape of memories that helped him find himself. The transition into his exploratory stage involves an experimentation of bright colours and textural application that evokes an element of confidence.
He explores his artistic abilities and creative instinct, layer by layer. His newly discovered boldness and courage is portrayed in his fast-drying medium of choice – acrylic paint – and the powerful images he creates. Curran begins with a blank canvas, and uses his sculpting background to create a 3D image on his canvas, using an acrylic polymer-based modeling paste. He then uses acrylic paints and an impressionistic approach to apply brushstrokes of primary colours – red, yellow, and blue – and complimentary colours such as violet, to create a textured painting intertwined with sculpture. His work features power animals such as owls and elephants, and portraits of influential icons such as Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and Frida Kahlo.
The painting that I am most drawn to, which also happens to be the piece that speaks to him the most, features a lion. Strokes of colour make up a dotted image full of depth and movement, as though the maturity of Monet merged with the quirky vibrancy of Van Gogh.
His trademark textural element is evident even in the 2D photograph I discover on his website. Individual lines of midnight blue, turquoise, and black cut through a mass of yellow, orange, red, and white strokes, to collectively make up the lion’s mane. It frames a face with piercing eyes that radiate a sense of power by which we can all be influenced – a very prominent feature injected into all of Curran’s recent paintings.
Daniel Curran is the master of fusion, effortlessly fusing sculpture with painting, impressionism with realism and power with wit. He creates paintings that are symbolic in their subject matter, powerful in their execution and influential in their interpretation, much like the layers that compose the artist within him.
Artist’s website: danielcurranart.com
Artist’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/danielcurranart