Emerging Artists | Daniel Marshall

Journeys to the center of the heart

Daniel Marshall, Feeding Time, watercolor, 7 x 21.

Daniel Marshall, Feeding Time, watercolor, 7 x 21.

This story was featured in the August 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Boats and beaches, cities and rural landscapes, vintage race bikes and their riders: award-winning watercolor artist Daniel Marshall paints the wide variety of subjects that compel him. His passion for traveling suits his taste for diverse subject matter, and while his trips are usually business related—he’s also a gifted tattoo artist with an international clientele—Marshall’s off-hours are reserved for painting en plein air, wherever his journeys take him.

Fine art wasn’t always his priority. A few decades ago, as a student at Propersi Institute of Art in Greenwich, CT, Marshall set his sights on becoming an illustrator. After graduating, he dipped his toe into greeting-card illustration and comic-book art before turning to tattooing as a profession. “The industry was changing in the ’90s, and it fit well with my training and design skills because it was an illustrative style of tattooing,” he says, “so I was constantly drawing and building a visual vocabulary.”

For many years, Marshall ran a successful tattoo studio in New York City. On the side, he painted fantasy and horror-themed works in oils, pastels, and acrylics. But, he says, “I hit this burnout point in the subject matter—it just wasn’t me anymore. I was traveling a ton, and I stumbled across a watercolor exhibition that really spoke to me. In a sense, watercolors saved me creatively.” Indeed, Marshall quickly developed an “obsession” with the fluid medium, honing his skills over time through intensive self-study and with guidance from his mentor, watercolorist Joseph Zbukvic.

Now based in Denver, CO, Marshall runs his tattoo business on a part-time basis to accommodate his full-time painting career. As he works both locally and abroad, his painterly watercolors reveal a distinctive mix of classic and modern influences, from John Singer Sargent to early-20th-century illustrator Dean Cornwell, and his draftsmanship skills and design savvy shine through, too. “Bringing in proper composition and design elements makes the painting interesting and relatable,” says Marshall. “If my pieces need to be altered back in my studio to have a story, I’ll do it. I’m a very honest liar.” The inventive artist even designed a pochade box specifically for watercolors after researching how to build one. “I’m very much a painting detective,” he says. “For me, art is always about digging deep and finding things out for myself. All the great masters had nothing to go on but self-discovery.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Atelier Seventy One, Denver, CO.

This story was featured in the August 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT