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Q & A with Los Angeles artist and gallery owner
1) You grew up in LA with the surf and skating culture, does it influence your work and how have you seen it change over time?
Yes, my beach was called Station 4, Keyes and I also belonged to the The Sand and Sea Beach Club in Santa Monica. As, kids we’d take our skateboards on the bus and go to the beach every day. Our scene wasn’t like Malibu or Manhattan Beach, we were more like the City boys, active surfing was a bit more unusual and rare where we lived. Skating and surfing are and will forever be simply, cool. When I was young as a kid I loved to go to beach, we had our own language (dude, brah etc.). If stayed within the lines of good and bad and managed that, it was an amazing way to grow up, there were fun parties hang out at almost every week and the scene was just cool. Back then it was all about skateboarding too, we loved Stacy Paralta, Tracker Trucks, Cadillac Wheels, all from our local shop, Val’s Surf. After we surfed, we’d hitchhike to the Valley and hang out with the Valley girls. Parties at someone’s house when parents were gone was a regular occurrence, looking back it seemed very iconic – all throughout LA in these beautiful houses, it seemed like out of a movie, like Less than Zero etc. I still skate; I cruise around on a five foot skate board around Beverly Hills from client to client.
2) You’ve got a lot of variety in your art – from very provocative women, to surfers to golfers & Country Club themes, to rock n’ roll icons, to Hollywood themes, to horses, shadow figurines and photo graphic art manipulations. How did that diversity in style transpire? Was it similar to Picasso where you went through “phases” or are you working across multiple mediums every day?
I grew up with it all in LA with it all, I have a variety and continuity of repeating Yes transpired by me picking something that is widespread, like what Warhol did, like my theme with Playboy models – it’s a nice style with a wide range. Like Picasso, I go through phases. Sometimes I can’t paint or force a paintbrush in my hand – other times I’m up all night for weeks. My materials are: resin, oil paints, prime, I use acrylic and water based paints.
3) You’ve been on numerous reality TV shows and just had Real Housewives of Beverly Hills filming in your gallery and are currently filming/cast in Selling LA, what similarities & differences do you notice between physical art and that of film?
Yes, I recently got approached to do a show called “life on canvas by Daniel Maltzman,” that is currently being pitched about the life of being an artist and gallery owner in Los Angeles. I’ve also been on the Dog Whisper (with my dog Pekaso), Millionaire Matchmaker (as the bachelor), and the Real Housewives of Orange County. I think it’s interesting when you deal with Reality TV, it’s a blank canvas and as cast, we have the ability to do and say what we want to do – it’s really not a scripted and produced experience that people think it is. It’s like the moment before you put your brush on canvas and deciding what you want to do. It’s interesting because as an artist, I am now a public figure. More and more, I get public attention, which is fun but also is a little invasive on the privacy side.
4) You’ve been dabbling in clothing throughout your career; from vests, to leather arm bands and now to t-shirts. Any vision here you’d like to share?
Yes, I just designed a surf line which I’m trying to get picked up. I had a line called Invest, which was a private label for Ann Taylor; I’ve also been in 50 kids stores. I want to venture back into the clothing “art,” marketed, but in a way that maintains it as high art, rather than say the Ed Hardy model. I want to be an artist for perhaps a pre-established brand, where I would use my art and images to work with their product and enhance that Fine art is universal I think, as is my style which is appreciated by young and older people. I like clothing because it puts you on the map and is an entry point for youth to get into art and gets them excited. I talk currently to schools, art orgs and groups, museums about that very topic.
5) Describe your creative process? Hot baths, old playboy collections, loud music on Sunset?
Everything. My process changes daily. It’s more of a feeling. Playboy collection, soft music- rather than loud, so I can think. My iPhone is a big tool for me – I make sketches constantly and notes. I look at Google images and make manipulations from them. The iPhone apps I use are Art Studio and Sketchbook X. In public, I’ll draw on the iPhone with someone and people are amused and blown away.
6) Do you feel having grown up in LA that the “pop surrealism” trend of combining low and high art together came naturally to you?
Yes, absolutely. It’s just a natural reflection of being born and bred here.
7) What advice do you have for aspiring artists? Young hipsters trying out the art scene and starting to collect and serious fans and aficionados of art?
My advice is to maintain your style, keep it consistent and flowing, so when people see it they get it and know your techniques. Buying art as an investment is hard – it’s a business that is very difficult to predict. I throw out some photography of iconic places in Los Angeles that are manipulated with my paintings on things like a billboard or side of a cab that I call – the “world of maltzys.” I do this to offer younger people or new collectors an opportunity to start collecting my art with a less expensive price point, so they can get it home and try it out. Older collector. I will evolve. Notoriety and museums.
8) What was the first painting you sold?
Actually, my first sale was six paintings to a friend that had a beautiful 10 million dollar house – it showed me that being an artist could be a lucrative venture if you are lucky. One was a collage, with Tiger Woods and a few other paintings, “geometrics,” which I still do many of today.
9) What artists or people do you admire most and in what way does that person inspire you?
I’m inspired and motivated from Gerard Richer and I notice similarities in watching movies about him, in our style and thought processes, his color pallet is different than mine however. He has a loose art style, I like the flow. Loose art opens up the creativity – including aspects in art that may have been an accident. It’s a magical opening which leads to things like the “push pull” technique with paints. Salvador Dali inspires me in certain ways – I like the imaginary symbolism – but it gets a bit crazy and far out at times. Jean Buffet has incredible sculptures, I love his paintings with little images, they are similar to pictures of mine that have shadow figures and they are almost like Keith Herring’s (who came after him).
10)What current modern trends, artists, visionaries influence or inspire you? What era of art influences you?
I’m attracted to color. Honestly, I’m rather picky about other people’s art, I’ll see one or two things I enjoy, but overall I don’t like their style of work. Art is very subjective. Jeffrey Coons is amazing, but he for example has 50 people working for him – so there is a wide range of paintings which fall under the example I just laid out.
11)What’s the greatest accomplishment of your life/career is there anything you hope to do that is even better.
Making some sales to people that are avid and established collectors, like Eugino Lopez and stars, like Justin Beiber and business icons like Steve Wynn and young debutants like Petra Ecklestone and Paris Hilton.
12) I know you’ve worked with a lot of celebrities and models who was your favorite. Do you have any funny stories? Who did you have the greatest connection with and why.
Yes, for example I’ve worked with Paris and Brittney. Honestly I think I connected with wealthy people, who become friends. It’s interesting that in a sense they “live with me” in their house (through my work) and I’m with them forever. It’s not about the money – it’s about what you want in their house. It should always be their thing – the worst thing an artist can do to try to influence or compliment someone’s style– all I say is thank you when people comment on my art. I’m an artist and also own my own gallery. Honestly, the most challenging part of being an artist and is “making it” and then hopefully earning something on top of that. Getting yourself up and out there can be a challenge. You can’t give yourself the respect – the industry has to. For example, I have hundreds of positive letters, some people get the industry respect but don’t have that, and it’s interesting.
13)What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in art?
I had a one on one passion for art as a kid – I always was drawing and sketching, which got me in trouble with the teachers. As a working artist, I love the amazing feeling of waking up and knowing that you are going to the paints! I like meeting interesting people. There is nothing better than finding something that you like that you’ve created when you take it out of the studio and put it on your wall.
14)What is your art about?
Pop culture and a style created by “Maltzy.” I repeat what I do stylistically, the major reason I do things repetitively, is so people get it. It’s amazing to always be chasing “the perfect painting” as you work every day – some artists only have one a lifetime. Sometimes a painting has something that makes it stand out – you can’t figure it out always – it could be for example in a woman’s eyes – it could be there is another area in the painting that’s white next to black and that is popping the white of the woman’s eyes in other place. That for example, can be hard to repeat, because often it’s coincidence and “magic” rather than pure intention. I want my art to be fun for people to enjoy and for them to feel good looking at it.
15)What is your greatest challenge as an artist?
Getting the respect and attention that I feel I deserve now. That’s something I have no control of. It’s up to other people (collectors, industry, public and press) on where you are. Where you’re at often it’s determined not by how your painting is or has evolved, but rather by who’s buying it. It’s more of the public that controls that – and sometimes it’s a major shift in awareness and sometimes it doesn’t even change. Paris Hilton for example, got a painting of mine that was delivered to her on her birthday in a club in Las Vegas. Another challenge is how a painting really looks different when you take it out of your studio and you bring it home and put it on the wall in a nice house with good surroundings and it looks totally different. I wish I knew how knew how it would look; often I dislike them until I do something like that.
16)What are your future plans for your art? Any changes in the medium or style? As an artist is there anything special you would like to accomplish.
Right now I’m working outside instead of inside, which is actually changing my style.. I’m bringing more oil into my painting, resin and I’m experimenting with beeswax.
17) As an artist how do you define “success”? Money, appreciation, museum acquisition, trend recognition, celebrity etc?
Honestly, a combination of all of the above.
18) Does the concept of “use it or lose it” apply to your creativity and work as an artist?
Totally, yes you have to keep doing it to get to great painting. You have to develop and painting every day starts to give you a signature style. Evolving as an artist is really fun.
19) How do you see technology, art, clothing, film all intersecting together and influencing each other since you are in the entertainment and fashion capital?
Now everyone thinks they are an artist because of technology. There are so many images and ways to manipulate them via technology. I go to Art Basil for example; I look for things I’m inspired by, if I’m lucky, I’m blown away with maybe five. The older I get and the more I see, the less I like. Tech is interesting – but I make art. I love paint, color and movement of paint. Fashion and art has been being partnered together and inflecting each other for a long time – Louis Vuitton, etc. So many fashion companies mirror art. Entertainment I don’t see it so much. I see it in tech with design, like in the case of Apple, but I think that’s rare rather than common.
For More Information About Daniel Maltzman
Kortney Oliver, PR Director
Daniel Maltzman Gallery