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Artist Interview: Daniel Hooper

Defying the constraints of genre, self-taught artist Daniel Hooper artist has captivated audiences with his dynamic range. From his hometown of Winchester to the bustling galleries of London, his sell-out exhibitions have become a testament to his captivating vision. Through romantic florals, evocative historical, and even daring abstract constructions, Hooper's signature expressive drips weave a tapestry of artistic audacity.



Hello Daniel, tell us a bit about yourself.


I started my career as a carpenter, I’ve always been a keen builder and designer. I ran my own carpentry business for several years before dedicating my life to art. During the ‘learning to paint’ stage, I would buy and sell antiques and do up classic cars. This gave me the financial stability to follow my dream of making a living from painting. My first show was at a framers shop in 2017, and it was a complete flop! My second solo show was with Canvas Gallery in Winchester in 2018, and it was a complete sell-out. Most of my sales are made independently through social media, although I owe a great deal to Canvas Gallery, and Maze Gallery (Sonja Heath) for their unrivalled sales over the years. I pride myself on being focused and motivated to succeed and I am always learning to evolve my painting capability. Francis Bacon and Max Ernst are my favourite artists, and abstract and surrealism are my favourite genres.


What was the first painting you created? Did you think it would be a one-off?


Honestly, my first ‘proper’ painting was of a Porsche Speedster. I painted something I love, and that’s how it all started. I knew the experience wouldn’t be a one-off but the car paintings would!

 

Is there a piece in particular that you really love?


From my own work? Yes, over the years there’s been a few I’ve been reluctant to part with. I still have the original Joker in my collection, as well as Chasing Pirates. Most recently I’ve developed a new style and created a very loose waterlilies piece, and I’m not sure I will part with that any time soon!


How has art transformed your life?


Massively, there is nothing I would rather be doing than painting. I live and breathe it. I dedicated my whole existence to making it work, and I’m so grateful it’s paid off.


Which other artists inspire you?


As I mentioned earlier, Francis Bacon and Max Ernst are my favourites to enjoy, and I take a lot of inspiration from these for application of paint (Bacon) and colour (Ernst).


Much of your work explores romantic florals. Where did this fascination come from?


It all started from a Picasso painting of a single flower in a glass, called La Copa Azul (the blue glass). I loved the colour and composition, and the simple outline of the glass. I still use a lot of blue in my florals, which is probably a testament to La Copa Azul.

 

What are your plans for the future? Anything exciting?


I co-founded Circus Gallery with Sonja Heath in 2023, so this will be a big focus for 2024 and we will be exhibiting at several art fairs. Personally, I will continue to develop my painting, I have a lot of ideas I want to practice and get right – that’s exciting!

 

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