Artist and Illustrator Daniel Fiore visits Inkspokes today, sharing with us some of his spectacular illustration portfolio and, as a harbinger of the coming summer, bringing with him imaginative scenes of sandcastles that rise to the sky and unexpected seaside adventures.
There’s something in the curve of the lines, something to do with lights and shadows, that made us pause when we first saw sketches by artist, illustrator and graphic designer Daniel Fiore. His sketches and illustrations often make us focus on a moment in time – the thrill or perhaps urgency of that moment, whether it is a little girl and dog reaching skyward or a wave of a little boy to a mer-boy friend at the day’s end.
There is a line drawing of a couple walking: we see their backs only as they look out at the vista in front of them. A walk by the sea, holding each other close, a friendship that binds them through the years?
These are scenes that we would like to inhabit, or perhaps sit nearby, just to watch these characters move forward in the poignancy of the moment: the dog falling back to earth, the mer-boy diving back into the waves. We are drawn into the story that the illustrator tells, maybe because the background is there as much as the foreground. Daniel Fiore has amazing renderings of landscapes and architecture (even the architecture of sand castles). We feel privileged to be a visitor if only for a moment.
And today, we are lucky to have Daniel Fiore here to share a bit of his art and story with us – everything from caricatures to graphic design and photo re-finishing to children’s illustration.
DF: The first thing I remember drawing was a Star Wars picture in first grade, which won a prize. Though I can’t remember what the prize was for, I do remember the big ribbon hanging on it while it was on display and feeling very proud and excited. In some form or another I’ve been creating art ever since. Today I feel so privileged to be able to share some of my work with you and the wonderful people at Inkspokes.
My elementary and high school years were spent learning and growing as an artist. I was incredibly lucky to always have the support of my family and the encouragement and advice of wonderful teachers. When it came time for college I attended Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and it was there that I discovered my passion for illustration. I loved the idea of storytelling through art.
After college, I did everything from illustrating city maps to creating advertisements and presentation graphics. I even stretched my creative muscles a bit and designed some snowboards for a sporting goods store! I spent many years working in the more technical areas of graphic design, eventually managing a photo-retouching studio before I decided to return to my first love, illustration.
I work in a few different styles and mediums. I use gouache and watercolor as well as mixed media consisting of colored pencil, oil, acrylic, watercolor…basically a little of everything! I really enjoy doing portraits and caricatures. It’s fun trying to work out what makes people look the way they do, and exaggerating that. I find it’s important to focus not just on the face, but also the entire figure and their environment as in the Tom Waits portrait you see here. It’s interesting that the things that people do or where they are can become as much part of their likeness as their facial features.
Recently, I’ve found my focus shifting towards the kind of illustrations you’d find in children’s picture books and I’ve been creating pieces that are just a little more whimsical than my usual work. I came up with the idea of the sand castle you see here just thinking about my own kids’ adventures at the beach. I could imagine them declaring they were going to make the biggest sand castle ever and then doing it! It goes clear off the top of the page so the viewer doesn’t know how high it goes – maybe it never stops! The mer-boy spun off of this idea of these fantastical things happening to the kids at the beach. I liked the notion that a child wouldn’t think anything of spending the day playing in the water with a boy who happens to live in the sea; he’d just be happy to have made a new friend and now they’re both heading home to dinner waving goodbye. These pieces have definitely taken me out of my creative comfort zone but I enjoy challenging myself – it’s the only way to keep growing as an artist.
I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at my work because it’s been awesome to get the chance to share it with you!
More about Daniel Fiore and his work may be found at:
(Illustrations in this post are copyrighted by Daniel Fiore. All rights reserved.)