SPOTLIGHT: DAN MARSHALL
We sat down with friend, former next door neighbor (Alphabet City represent!) and artist, Dan Marshall, to talk about art, tattoos, relocating to Denver and everything in-between.
We've know the Marshall family since around 2010 when we became neighbors on Sixth Street in NYC and it's great to have them with us again here in Denver. We spent a few hours with Dan, his wife Madoka and their adorable Frenchie, Mogu, got some photos of their new studio space and were able to talk to Dan about the world of art and tattooing, his influences and why he chose Denver as the home base for Atelier 71.
Before coming to Colorado, you used to work at Last Rites in New York City, how did you get involved with them?
I moved back to NYC in early 2002, it was just after Sept 11. Paul Booth was looking to expand the Last Rites crew and he had just hired Tim Kern (who primarily does color) and he wanted another artist with more of a black and grey influence. I'm fortunate to have some great references and former bosses, Shahn Anderson in Minneapolis to name one, to get me in the door for an interview, which is a task in and of itself. Haha. Anyway, I was a good fit and spent the next 5 years there doing some great tattoos, meeting all manner of celebrity and traveling the world doing conventions. It was an experience that completely changed my life, professionally as well as personally.
How would you describe your style of tattoos?
My style of tattooing is generally black and grey realism, often with dark gothic romantic and fantastic undertones. Haha. Honestly though, as long as I can take my clients ideas and translate them into my own artwork, in a way I feel will best represent what they are really trying to say with the piece, that is at the core of what I do. I love it.
What drew you to watercolor and how did you get in contact with Joseph Zbukvic (One of the leading masters of watercolor medium)?
Feeling pressure to perform at a high level of quantity and quality of tattoo lead me to a bit of a burnout. Creatively and mentally I was physically suffering. A grueling travel schedule, every month 2 or 3 different time zones. I needed a break and I needed to refocus. I happened to be having lunch at a gallery/bistro in Seattle and there was an exhibition of watercolor paintings on display from an impressionist style watercolor painter. I was blown away. Somehow it resonated with me and i knew then and there, this is what I am going to do (the painter was Ron Stocke whom I now have the pleasure to call friend and colleague). Another artist I can now call friend and colleague is Joseph Zbukvic. As I started painting I realized quickly I knew very little about composing and executing fine art! I was searching for modern day impressionist painters and stumbled across Joseph's work. I found he was teaching a demo in Cadaques, Spain so I dropped everything and was able to get in due to someone canceling [a tattoo appointment]. That was the fall of 2012. Over the past few years I've been very fortunate to paint with Joseph frequently. I have been painting nearly every day, obsessed, since that afternoon in Seattle when watercolor called me...and I answered. I have now earned signature status with the American Watercolor Society, exhibit frequently and am active in a few watercolor societies including the Colorado Watercolor Society.
How would you describe your style of watercolor painting?
My style of watercolor painting is tonal, impressionist painting. I've been compared to the American Regionalist painters of the 1930's, but with modern sensibilities. I like to paint the ever day life scenes that i encounter either where I live or where I travel. I am very fortunate to travel frequently which always provides me with subjects and inspiration. Next stop, Venice at the end of April!
Can you please explain your move to Denver and the vision you have for Atelier 71?
High cost of living drove me out of NYC. It is difficult to flourish there as a creative and I really wanted to open my own painting studio, gallery and private tattoo space. Denver is a place that offers not only culture in art, music and food but is surrounded by natural beauty as well as the beauty of the urban landscape. The architecture, people and neighborhoods of Denver are all fantastic inspirations. And although the cost of living may be considered higher than it was in recent years, compared to NYC its affordable. With Atelier 71 (atelier is french for a workshop or studio, used by an artist or designer) I wanted to make my own creative space, with an aesthetic that reflects my sensibilities, that i can feel comfortable in and free to create whatever I feel, whether its watercolor, charcoal, tattoo or whatever. I also am looking forward to getting active in the local art community and offer small workshops and classes to those interested in learning watercolor. As well as putting together some plein air outings where artists can meet at a location and paint with each other.
So far, Denver has shown itself to be the perfect place for me and my family to live and enjoy all the city has to offer!