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Artist Statement

Explore the artist

“The subjects I paint are from my life1; my neighborhoods, friends, my loves, or places where we’ve traveled. Some images come from walking with our dogs and they’re in a lot of paintings, often showing the world through their eyes. I still have the East coast wonder of California; so palm trees, big California skies, swimming pools and warm afternoons in the garden can almost always get me going. I also have a fascination with light2  in its various forms and this finds its way into what I notice and paint. People talk about the bold colors4 and perspectives3 in my paintings or how some are seen from God’s point of view … maybe this expresses that I feel so much of my life has been a generous gift from above.”

from the 2001 Venice Art Walk catalog



1 When I studied at Cal-Arts, I saw the world, including the art world, moving faster and faster with the speed of a computer. Artists I knew were representing this complex modern reality by creating abstracted and fragmented compositions, expressing a growing sense of alienation. I got it, but I didn’t think the world needed one more expression of this angst. It felt that the most radical thing I could do was to connect people to feeling and the calm and joy that we all carry inside. Moments we may miss when we move too quickly throug life.

2 I moved from the East Coast and fell in love with the lifestyle, clean spaces, and compelling light of Southern California. I settled into areas known for their spectacular light, Venice by the ocean and Palm Springs by the mountains. The first thing I see when I look at anything is light.

3 I often employ unusual perspectives, which helps me stop the viewer and literally make them see things from a fresh perspective. You need to stop to see the small things; a moment of quiet, the play of light and shadow. My paintings turn viewers into voyeurs; experiencing intimate moments from afar, not disturbing the subjects in the paintings.

4 I don’t paint from photographs, they are from memories, sketches, even dreams. The colors I use are the colors of my imagination, as vibrant as the memories themselves. Sometimes objects or even people are distilled down to simpler shapes to better express their essence. While my work is figurative, it is not trying to copy reality.

“Painting is a meditation for me. Through the process of painting, I get to relive and refine my memories. Adjusting colors or images, over and over until I get as close as possible to the feeling that launched the painting. I hope that the work, when finished, recreates the feeling I’ve had and connects that to the viewer.

Daniel Samakow - Artist

Daniel Samakow