We had the good fortune of connecting with Sid Daniels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sid, what are you inspired by?
I get jolts of inspiration when I watch old movie musicals from the 1940s and ‘50s. I am also wildly passionate about fashion, and have been, since my adolescence. Inspirations come from watching live haute couture runway fashion shows from Paris and from the background music that compliments these shows. That being said, I am energized to create when I listen to Big Band Swing music of the 1940s, Latin Bossa Nova, and 1970s disco. I am also fondly drawn to vintage fashion photography and movie star photography. The genius of Hollywood choreographer, Busby Berkeley, Art Deco architecture and the costumes that Carmen Miranda wore in her movie musicals have all played a major role in the work that I have produced during the past 50 years.
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.
I attended the Ontario College of art in Toronto from 1970-1974. Fashion illustration classes that I took there, jumpstarted my love for drawing and design, experimenting will all types of media from colored pencil, pastels and markers to painting in acrylics on canvas, which now has become the main focus of my work. When I moved to New York City in 1978, at the height and euphoria of the disco era, it seemed like I was at the right place at the right time. Everything New York represented, was now a reality to me. The movies, music, magic and nostalgia that I saw on the television screen growing up in Toronto, was now all around me. This fueled my creative imagination in ways that I cannot fully explain. These influences impacted the way I presented fashion imagery that I choreographed to music with a sense of humor, theatrical flair, and style, injecting a Deco spin on everything I created. During the 1980s and ‘90s, I focussed on large scale works on canvas, commercial art, and murals, some of which included CBS International, GRP and Arista record album covers, commemorative posters for the United States Ballroom Championships, Absolute Vodka, and the Design Industries Fights Aids, Ann Taylor, Firorucci, Bloomingdales, Pierre Cardin, Macy’s, Hudson’s Detroit, Zanzibar Nightclub, and The Holiday Inn. My work appeared in the motion picture ‘Tootsie’ and in publications that include ‘The Big Book of Fashion Illustration’. I relocated to Miami Beach in 1997 to reinvent my style, introducing abstract and geometric works and collections of paintings as series with themes. ‘The Parasol Series’ explores my trademark woman under an umbrella, experimenting with repeat images, line, texture, design and space. Next came the ‘Duet Bookend’ series, concentrating on positive/negative shapes with stylized women always being the focus of my work and after that came the ‘Labyrinth’ series of Art Deco inspired architectural forms. With all my work, the focus is on movement, which I achieve with my trademark hard edge style. In 2017 and 2018, I exhibited my work at Aqua Art Miami and Spectrum, both during Art Basel Miami Beach. In May of 2019 I went back to my roots with a new series of fashion inspired illustrations and portrait work on paper, finding this format a refreshing change from painting. I continue to set new challenges for myself as I move forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Perez Art Museum The Rubell Collection Ocean Drive South Pointe Park Collins Avenue A drive up Bay Road The Design District Brickell
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
What jumps out at me is the movie “The Gang’s All Here”, the technicolor 1943 Hollywood movie musical that stars Carmen Miranda, Alice Faye, the Benny Goodman Orchestra, and choreography by Busby Berkeley. This movie changed my life when I first saw it at an art house movie theater way back in 1977 in New York City. The out of this world visuals, the costumes, the sets, the music and the theatrics all had an enormous impact on my creativity.