We fell in love with the art photography by Sydney’s Danielle Cross the moment we laid eyes on it. It’s bold and raw and she effortlessly captures different movement and textures, blurring the line between camera lens and paintbrush. Her work is equal parts tranquil and thought-provoking. As she explains – it’s the dance between what is comfortable and uncomfortable.
We recently caught up with Danielle to chat about her creative journey, the soundtrack to her work and who her dream client would be. Let's dive in.
Let's go back to the beginning! When you were young, was there a feeling you'd end up an artist?
I was a creative kid, always creating something. Being a builder's daughter, I was always on site and took an interest in the design process. Being creative was very organic and was always just a natural feeling place I would go to as a child, so I suppose there was a subconscious universal alignment that saw the artist path very early on.
You studied interiors at Enmore Design Studio. How do you think your background in interior design informs your work?
The study at Enmore was so valuable in understanding all the elements and principles of design. There is a science to everything from colour selection to composition in art and everything in between. Knowing that art can make or break a space, it's crucial that there's a perfect relationship between all the elements of the art and the interior space where it's featured. Art creates a feeling and storytelling side in any space. It should work with the sofa but also transport you to another place or emotional state. Both are just as important. But I do believe and encourage my clients to first go for the art that talks to them and then all other aspects will fall into place.
How would you describe your interior design style?
Minimal, eclectic with a hint of white noise. I work with the grounding of white space and layer with minimal colour, bold shapes and thought-provoking artwork. Comfortable and uncomfortable. Interior design should connect and tell and an intangible story. It's all about how you feel in the space, through all of your senses.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I find importance in my art through the connection with the viewer, which I achieve by evoking an emotion and feeling through colour, shape, form, subject matter and strength of the storyline that I'm entrenched in at the time I create. My style mantra has always been finding the comfortable in the uncomfortable. I'm an Aries who has to push the boundaries.
As an artist and through the process of freedom of expression, art is meant to talk to our souls – speak to our intangible self. I do believe that we live in a complex, censored world and art is such an amazing way to provoke.
Can you tell us about the collection, Platonic Provocateur, that you're exhibiting at Elms? What was the inspiration?
I like to provoke taboo conversations and evoke a strong emotion within my viewers. Platonic Provocateur is the exploration and evolution of what we see in ourselves and the role that our platonic and provocateur connections play in our everyday lives — the art dances between what is comfortable versus our deepest desires. Love is to have, and desire is to want. Platonic Provocateur sits somewhere in between. This collection lets us question our connections with ourselves and question our boundaries and expectations with our relationships. What we have experienced ourselves is what the viewer will see in the art - it's all open to interpretation.
Walk us through your creative process. Do you take a different approach to photography versus painting?
I'm an artist who uses a camera instead of a paintbrush when I approach my art photography collections. The same process and rituals apply. All art reflects the artist and the influences that have played a role in that art process. The subject matter and story of the collection is a rough guide to where I ultimately want to end up with it, but just like when the viewer feels the emotion viewing it, is the same for me as the artist creating it.
Which person, place, or thing—inside the industry or out—inspires you?
Too many. Music. The transcendence state that music creates is what holds me in a moment. I often play one song over and over again. I suppose I have a soundtrack for every art collection.
Inspiration is fleeting moments. The moments when I travel to Italy, France and, more recently, Hong Kong (Hong Kong is a sensory overload of contradictions) is where I find comfort in the uncomfortable. It pushes my boundaries and mindset. The ocean is the place where all the noise, ideas and concepts in my head can focus.
What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?
STEALING FIRE Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
THE 5AM CLUB Robin Sharma
EVERYTHING IS FUCKED Mark Manson
THE STATE OF AFFAIRS Esther Perel
THE NOTICER Andy Andrews
THE ALCHEMIST Paulo Coelho
Finish this sentence: "I'm most fulfilled when…"
When I can stop thinking. When I can switch off.
I first experienced this on a trip to Bali. I was transported through challenging Yoga with an amazing teacher Ola Lirka. Having experienced some hard life lessons and personal circumstances over the last three years, for the first time, I felt the enlightening experience of not thinking – literally not thinking and experiencing what was right in front me.
Being a born fast, manic Aries, I have always struggled with the idea of slowing down.
Stand Up Paddleboarding is also my meditation. You have no chance but not to be in the present. It challenges my mind and body, and it's about chasing contentment, not happiness. That's where I'm at.
What's your morning routine?
A morning ritual is so important for my mind. It is non-negotiable.
6 am Yoga sequence or beach run and a grounding moment before the crazy morning with two daughters (Marley 14, Evy Jude 10).
Being of Italian background, I have to have 6:30 am coffee wherever I am. Most days see me in the studio by about 9 am.
Do you have a favourite quote or words to live by?
This special quote is so close to my heart. I sent this to one of my best friends when she was struggling with her health. Unfortunately, she lost the battle but remained the all-time optimist.
"OPTIMIST… SOMEONE WHO FIGURES THAT TAKING A STEP BACKWARD AFTER TAKING A STEP FORWARD IS NOT A DISASTER, IT'S MORE LIKE A CHA CHA."
This quote now takes on more meaning than ever, and I see the word ChaCha all the time.
Who would be your dream client? In whose space would you love to see your work hung?
Lenny Kravitz's Parisian home. It is the eclectic featured art styles, rock n roll, sculpture and interior architecture of the 'Le Palais.' It's said that the space is reflective of the famous saying by 18th Century writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that 'Architecture is frozen music.' The same can be said for art, in my view.
What other projects are coming down the chute in 2019?
I'm working behind the scenes on a contemporary art talk podcast platform. Opening up the conversation on art and making the chat relevant to today as to make the industry more approachable through connection. I'm also working on a small collection of large-scale artworks with some corporate clients. 'White Noise Black Mirror' is the next original art collection for the back end of the year. 'House of Cards' the following new art photography collection that has an underground sport element to it. And maybe another 'stop thinking' trip after all that! DX
Please join us for the opening night to celebrate the incredible images of Danielle X on Thursday, 20th of June, where she will be presenting her latest work.
When: Opening Night / 20th June 2019
Time: 6 - 8 pm
Where: Elms - 393 Crown Street, Surry Hills
RSVP by 13th June