We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Simone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
My favorite quote of all time is from a painter named Alice Neel, and it perfectly encompasses how I feel like my career as an artist came to fruition. “If you’re tenacious and interested, you can accomplish anything you want to accomplish in this world.” When I was enrolled in painting, drawing and photography programs initially at the Peck School of the Arts, I often looked back at this quote for endurance. For the longest time, I thought I’d finish my undergraduate and graduate degrees in these programs and eventually teach in the visual arts at college level. I didn’t have someone paying for my education, so I was very strict during my years of study, and took on many art projects on my own outside of my studies throughout the years to fund my classes and life as a student, and eventually those outside projects became what I ended up doing for my full-time job. I’m a true believer that if you are dedicated, curious and passionate about something, you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve worked as an editorial wedding, portrait and fashion photographer for almost 14 years now, and have simultaneously been a commissioned painter and illustrator for about 10 of those years. I’ve worked on small crews to very large events in my career, some notably of which were the opportunities to be a behind-the-scenes photographer a music video for Sara Bareilles and John Legend, and being hired on as a commissioned illustrator for work on a video for Miley Cyrus at MTV’s Video Music Awards. Overall, through both venues of my art-making, I aim to have a straight-forward approach rooted in expressing an authentic moment through photography or to lightheartedly poke fun at an element of modern day society through painting and illustration. If I could say anything to the art community, it would be that to make anything that you as an artist don’t resonate with deeply would be a true disservice to yourself and the community. Making artwork the way I want to has always been the one thing I’ve stayed true to throughout my life, and if anything, it’s been a form of therapy as well as a career. I consider myself incredibly lucky to do what I love full-time after years of hard work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d likely spend all week running around the different neighborhoods in LA like the Arts District or Silver Lake, walking the beach in Santa Monica or Venice, and hiking in the hills to get the incredible views all over Los Angeles. I’d also love to take my friend to the Griffith Observatory and any of the museums here like The Getty or The Broad. One of my favorite spots to frequent in the city is the Arts District, where you can find anything from various types of cuisine from German to Japanese to Italian on the same street, to experiencing the spectacle of giant, intricate mural work on the walls of industrial working spaces and artists’ lofts. I also have a special place in my heart for Little Tokyo. I used to live in many different parts of Asia over the span of 5 years, and one of my favorite spots to visit was Japan. I love that LA offers so much diversity in a vast, charming city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have many people who encouraged me along the way, and I’d really love to shout out all of the parents/second parents/mentors I have! Firstly, my mother, Jeanne Burren, who from birth encouraged my participation in the arts, whether it be from buying stained glass window supplies for me to try at 6 years old, to encouraging me to enroll in an art degree program in college. My father, Glenn Burren, who taught me how to draw Charlie Brown at the age of 2, and who always filled the house with his guitar playing as I grew up. I’d also love to shout out Julie Schaller-Schmidt & John Schmidt, who helped me believe in myself in some of my hardest times, and who encouraged me to work hard in my art career and studies. Lastly, California-based artist and professor Denis Sargent and Wisconsin-based artist and professor Kay Knight both played key roles in my development as an artist in the fine arts program at the Peck School of the Arts.
Art Website: www.bydaniellesimone.
Photography Website: www.daniellesimoneco.
by Danielle Simone & Co.