We had the good fortune of connecting with Danny Galieote and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danny, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think Risk Taking is key to success. I think as artists we must trust our gut feelings deep down and believe in yourself and your talent and skills. Calculated Risk is key. For me personally, since early childhood, I always felt a strong attraction to painting. But I also felt a very strong attraction to animation, film and cinema in my early 20s. So when time came to graduate from art school, I had to choose a path as career. I knew I wasn’t ready to make painting my sole income, so I chose animation as my focus. I ended up becoming a traditional character animator at Disney for 12 years. I animated on such films as Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, Princess and the Frog and Tangled… And all the while, I was practicing and studying my craft of classical drawing and painting. At one point, I left the studio to just teach Figure Drawing and Anatomy at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena so that I could take time to focus on painting for a while and further develop my artistic vision. I started getting more and more exhibitions and the time came in 2011, to move forward and just paint full-time. I felt like I was ready and had paid my dues, so to speak.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well I always felt a very close affinity to the 1940s 50s. I feel like was alive during that time, although I wasn’t born yet. And being Italian American and visiting Italy many times, brought the Renaissance masters into my life. Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, etc. I studied them very closely for several years. I ended up traveling quite a bit, while working at Disney and when I was teaching at Art Center in Pasadena, I received a grant to study at the Uffizi Museum in Florence. Holding and studying 500 year old master drawings was incredible. I think I absorbed much of this energy from these moments and my studies in Italy and France. So with my artwork, I have combined my love of Renaissance art with this inclination toward the 1940s and the WPA (Works Projects Administration). The art of the 40s has a design sensibility with which I’ve felt a very strong connection. Much of the works from that period was mural work. Paintings that were made to be seen in public spaces and meant to uplift the American people of the day. So the paintings were designed clearly enough to be seen from a broad distance and there was a great rhythm to the work. I’ve employed all these inspiring elements into my personal style and branding. The great American Artist, Norman Rockwell, has always been one of my big inspirations. I am honored to say that my most recent big project was to make modern versions of his infamous “Four Freedoms” from 1943. I spent most of 2020 creating these four large paintings. Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship and Freedom from Want. I hired all the models that would fit the particular theme for each piece. I emphasized the wonderful diversity and equality in American today. Two of these Four Freedoms were sold to the Hilbert Museum of California Art at Chapman University and they’re now hanging in their Permanent Collection. The other two were sold to collectors in Southern California.
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 would go to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena in the morning and look at the Degas paintings. Have a cup of coffee in their Garden and then head over to the LA County Museum of Art. Have lunch at the Restaurant there at LACMA and walk through the museum’s American Art wing and see their recent temporary Exhibition. Then by around 3pm head over to the Getty Museum. Spend an hour or two looking at the Masters, like Rubens, Da Vinci and Pontormo. Watch the sunset while up on the Getty mountain top… Then around 6:30 head to a fancy Italian dinner in LA and see a movie around 9 and end the night with a drink at a local bar. That would be an incredible day:) 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?
Well, I immediately think of my parents and grandparents who gave me encouragement as a kid. My paternal grandfather used to bring home these giant pieces of computer paper from his work. And he’d give them to me along with some graphite pencils. I remember drawing all kinds of things on those big pieces of paper. Also when I was around 6 yrs old, my parents started putting me in art classes at a local artist’s home in the San Fernando Valley (Southern California). Her name was Adrien Regan. Her children went to my elementary school and it felt pretty comfortable to be there at her studio working on the basic skills of drawing, pastels and painting. This love of art and film started early. I always just gravitated toward it and this early support from my family helped push me along from an early age. My maternal grandfather was supportive in different ways. He was an old Sailor from the US Navy and he taught me a lot about life. All our time spent by the ocean either fishing or at the beach with my siblings has proved to be a huge inspiration for my artwork later in life.
Linkedin: Danny Galieote
Twitter: Danny Galieote
Facebook: Danny Galieote
Youtube: Danny Galieote
Other: My Website has several Limited-Edition Giclee Prints available for purchase and my Instagram page shows much more detail and videos about my life and art-making process. If possible, Please include the Website links to my 3 Gallery Representatives listed above, along with my personal Website link. Thank you!!!
All photography credited to the artist, Danny Galieote.