Meet artist Daniel Martin Sullivan, an emerging painter based in Chicago, who is inspired by artists such as Cicely Brown, Gerhard Richter, and Ad Reinhard. Sullivan is interested in exploring psychological themes in his work, particularly emotions such as anxiety and depression.
There is such a stigma about mental health in the “real world” that is not present in the art world. Artists are usually more understanding and tolerant of so many things because so many artists try to work out their problems on the canvas, sculpture, performance, or writing.Daniel Martin Sullivan
Join us in Sullivan’s studio for a virtual visit and Q &A.
What have you been working on recently?
My studio practice has intensified since 2017, and with that has come experiments and breakthroughs that allow me to work without caring about the outcome. I have been working a lot with paper lately, not just to warm up, but also because of its versatility (Rives BFK in black is superb). I usually try to get something going with a sheet each time I’m in the studio – again, not everything is precious or going to be a keeper.
The work in my online solo show this March features work that was very much influenced by my environment. Pieces were influenced by music, by nature, by emotions, by challenges, and by the state of the world around me as I am working.
Can you tell us about your process?
I usually plan out what I want to work on prior to going to my studio that day. I do factoring in some “spontaneous time” to each visit. Sometimes that “spontaneous” time is filled with starting a new piece or practicing with a new art supply. Other times, it could be cutting rags or cleaning. A few times it has been just me sitting in the stillness of the space.
How has the current situation affected you and your art practice?
I was working collaboratively with some friends and another artist at the Greenleaf Art Center where I have my studio. COVID-19 has clearly nixed the more collaborative pieces for now. I am still producing a heavy volume of work though in this timeframe – there is a bit more of a textural element is some pieces. Also, I am working with the duality of a larger subject (such as a landscape) on a smaller sized piece.
What kind of things do you use to stay involved with the art world in
this time of social distancing?
I love to get my Booooooom, Artsy, and Instagram updates, but I desperately miss seeing work in a museum or gallery. There is no comparison to seeing art in person – a Rothko online is wonderful still, but in person, it is moving. An experience. I have an extensive collection of art books and I’ve been going back through them and reading ones that I barely/never read. I’ve been seeking out artist interviews and videos that I had marked as “watch later,” because that is what is inspiring me now.
Keep up with Daniel Martin Sullivan on Instagram!