From Michael Jackson to JFK, Daniel Mazzone, has created some of the most colorful, inspirational pieces of work. The modern day Andy Warhol is making waves on the art scene with his larger than life sized collages.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Daniel Mazzone was no stranger to art. In his youth, he joined his mother in her craft of creating stained glass. Mazzone’s creative practice was pushed aside when he became homeless at 15.
After a few years, Daniel went to school for business and became a mortgage broker. It wasn’t until a friend sold one of Mazzone’s pieces at his restaurant, did he realize his future. The piece sold for $14,000 and the rest is history.
Famous faces like Toronto Blue Jays player, Jose Bautista, and billionaire, Michael Wekerle have commissioned art from Mazzone. I had the honor of speaking with the artist about his thought-provoking pieces.
Q: How do you pick your subjects for your pieces?
A: “I like to pick people who followed their dreams or didn’t have everything exactly handed to them… they’re people that inspire me and made me want to work hard to leave something behind just like they did.”
Q: What is the thought process when it comes to creating your work? How does the image develop?
A: “It develops as I’m going along. I do a lot of research before I do it on the person, study their past, their life or where they grew up. I just sort of build it all, like a sculpture.”
Q: I understand that you use magazines, newspapers, old pictures and letters to create your pieces. Why is that?
A: “All the media I use has to do with the subject. For instance, for Napoleon, I used newspapers that were 260 years’ old that were about Napoleon, love letters from his wife that he got… French gold coins, maps, French war boats from that era. Everything I use either tells a story about a subject, or I usually pick a theme. All the materials all mean something.”
Q: A popular characteristic of your pieces is that they’re all very large. Is size intentional?
A: “Dream big. I like the wow effect of the portrait pieces. It’s nice because you can fit more information [in the pieces]. People can actually read it when they walk by and stuff.”
Q: During your first show, Art Basel Miami 2015, all 25 pieces of your collection sold. Given your journey, how did you feel in that moment?
A: “Well, it’s amazing because, it’s just the fact that your dream is coming true and it’s becoming something real and sustainable, something that I should keep. Just to be able to wake up every morning and do something you love is a real gift. And that’s a verification of, you know, do it a little longer.”
Q: is Andy Warhol your biggest influence? Who else has influenced your art?
A: “Definitely. Not so much in the art style but the legacy they left behind and what they’ve done for the art world, how they’ve changed things. I think I sort of look up to artists more in that sense. It’s not always just me liking their artwork.”
Q: When did you realize that art was much more than a pastime?
A: “I didn’t plan on selling any of it. Once the first one sold, a friend actually sold it without telling, and once he told me it was sold, then I thought ‘you know what, you’re going to do this.’”
Q: What advice do you have for budding artist that might be unsure of their path?
A: “You’re going to hear ‘no’, you’re going to hear some disappointing stuff. Sometimes people may not like your stuff. It’s not always going to be what you want to hear, but you keep doing it, or else it just doesn’t happen. There’s always going to be people who aren’t fans along the way, people who want to discourage you, tell you it’s too hard but if you don’t try, you won’t know. If you do try, more often than not, it’s going to happen. Try your best. There’s always haters, right?”
Q: Are you working on any new collections that will debut soon?
A: “I’m actually working on a bunch of commissions that I have now but I’m also working on my Art Basel Show at the same time. They take me quite a while to make so I’m just working on those.”