Name: Danielle Camp
Location: Atlanta, GA
Bio: Danielle Camp is an internationally recognized artist. Originally from Alabama, this Southern artist began painting at the age of 6 years old where she competed and won in her first State level art competition. Through out her youth, she practiced and mastered her craft, and later on went to study art at Mississippi State University. Danielle also studied art in Florence, Italy at Santa Reparata School of Art. She ended her studies abroad showcasing her art in an exhibition in Florence, officially making her an international artist. In 2013, Danielle graduated from Mississippi State University as Summa Cum Laude with her BFA and an emphasis in graphic design.
Today, Danielle works as a graphic designer for a merchandise branding company based out of New Orleans where she gets to design for some of the largest brands worldwide. She also runs her own company where she does commission art pieces and also sells handmade art collectibles. She has served a multitude of clientele both nationally and internationally, and continues to push the level and impact of her art.
Describe your experience as a current artist.
I am a full-time artist. I work full-time as a graphic designer for a branding company, but I also work full-time for myself as a fine artist. I have been pursuing art literally my whole life. It was nothing that I ever thought twice about. Life as an artist just felt natural and I always knew it was my calling. I feel very fortunate to have known my life's purpose at such a young age. My purpose as an artist is to use this craft to give the message that God wants me to deliver which is a message of love, happiness, and unity.
What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?
After I graduated from college with my Bachelor's of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in graphic design, I could not find a job. So I worked at Disney World for a year, and I also worked as a server. The life as a server actually worked well during this time because servers make great money and I also had the ability to leave work as often as I needed to travel. So this was a great time to make art and travel the world in order to inspire my creativity. My turning point happened in 2014. I came up with a plan and began doing art festivals selling a unique product with my paintings on it. After a few months of hustling, I presented my business plan to vitaminwater during their Project Hustle campaign, and I was one of two of the artists chosen all across America to receive $50,000 to support my art hustle. This really helped adjust my mindset as an artist and what I was capable of. Not only did I believe in myself as an artist, but at this point I had a corporate giant supporting and believing in me as well. The plan was to pursue art full-time since my degree wasn't getting me nowhere, so I quit my server job and prepared myself to relocate to Atlanta. Just a week after resigning, I got a job offer from the design company that I currently work for. With no corporate experience under my belt, they were willing to give me a chance. I definitely did not pass up the opportunity. I accepted the graphic design position and still pursued my art endeavors full time.
What was your biggest challenge/obstacle in pursuing art and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge as an artist is not having the support that I feel I needed. It is hard for other people to see your vision when it is not clear to them. But I thank God that I am strong willed and that I have never doubted myself, because even when people would try to stir me to go in another direction disregarding my creative purpose, I stayed true to what I wanted. Many of my art mentors came along later on during my adult life. I can only imagine where I would be if I had more of an influence and the support that I needed when I was a little younger. However, for the support that I did have and that I currently do have, I am very grateful.
Describe your biggest milestone or project/series achieved since pursuing your art.
I would say that my biggest milestone as an artist would be my very first mural that I created this year in Baton Rouge, LA. I got hired for the job with literally zero mural experience. I had 3 days to complete it in 30 degree weather. I wanted to quit on the first day. That is when this project became personal for me. I had to prove to myself what I was capable of. I was 20 feet in the air with snow flurries, could not feel my fingers or toes, but I painted. I pushed myself to complete this mural. This was a milestone for me because I feel that I had officially leveled up as an artist. I proved to myself that despite what I think my limitations are and despite whatever conditions are circumstances I may be in, if I put my mind to do something, I can do it. The mural turned out beautiful and the impact that it had on the surrounding community was even more beautiful! It is hard for me to explain the gratification that I got from doing this mural, but it has led me to the pursuit of creating more larger than life masterpieces.
How does your personal style and identity translate into your artwork?
Art makes people feel. I have learned that I don't like to do art that makes people feel sad. I am a very positive person, and I want my art to reflect a feeling of positivity and happiness always. I know that life isn't all rainbows and butterflies, however, I want people to feel good on the inside when they see my art. I also like to reflect culture through my art. I travel all around the world, and I make an effort to learn about other cultures and to speak other languages. I use my experiences to celebrate and educate about different cultures through my art. My art is unique because of the sense of spirit that lives in each piece. Even though, I can switch up on my style or medium, a spirit of passion and soul is consistent in them all.
What is your favorite art technique and why?
When it comes to painting, I love to paint people! There is a beauty of humanity that I just love to capture. My favorite medium has always been watercolors because of it's freeness and unpredictability. However, I enjoy using oils just as much, due to its forgiveness and richness.
What are some life hacks that have helped keep you motivated and helped you get through creative blocks?
I surround myself in a world of creative people. I have artist friends and artist mentors. I follow numerous art and artist accounts on social media so that I am constantly exposed to art. I have an easel set up right next to my bed with the current piece I am working on so that it is the first thing I see when I wake up and last thing I see when I go to bed. I do all of these things because they motivate me and keep me excited about creating. It is all about creating a world around you that is constantly inspiring you.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP interested in furthering their art goals and/or owning a business?
My biggest advice would be to remain persistent. Keep doing the work. It is the investments that we make now that will pay off later. Even with my big vitamin water recognition, it was only made possible due to the work that I had already done. Not the work that I was promising to do. Opportunity only presents itself when we have already done the hard work. So keep creating, and eventually your opportunity will present itself.
What is next for you?
I have so many things in the works right now. I have numerous showcases approaching in multiple cities. As an artist, my next venture is to become an experienced mural artist. As of now, I have completed three murals.. one in Louisiana, one in Ethiopia, and one in Atlanta. I hope to further develop my skills and become a recognized and highly sought out mural artist. I also plan to do more portraiture in oil paint in which I will focus on the theme of underrepresented cultures around the world, particularly from the African Diaspora. This project will highlight and celebrate these cultures in an effort to educate and unify all people.
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
I am very proud to be a Black Latina with a gift such as mine. It is important for me to create because I am the people that is underrepresented in art. So it is my duty to make sure that we are captured through art because it is art that records our history and defines who we are through a creative perspective.