My painting provides a sort of relief valve. As I work to achieve mindfulness, I found painting a very natural avenue for seeking it out. The world is so rife with demands to our attention that try to define our happiness. I prefer to define these things myself. I keep a journal, but additionally, I see my paintings as their own sort of “journal entry”. I depend on it. Progeny.
The art of taking things that three-dimensional and expressing them in two dimensions has always fascinated me. I began as a child with margin sized figures done with pencil, I found that the emotive expression in the work was of more importance to me than detailed illustration, and as I explored different mediums, I loved the movement of oil paint.
My subjects are derived from design and fashion history. and nature around me. From that, my artistic license varies with each subject. I don’t start out having a need to portray a specific feeling, but as the work moves along, I try to embrace a sense of freedom. I let it complete itself. My present style has a rapport from my use of watercolor early in my career. In the transition, I found it comforting to continue this stylistically with the oil.
If I put my adventure to words, I would describe it as a play between formality and play. Use of whimsey, vying for perceived detail.
I believe everyone is creative. An artist, however, uses that creativity to create art”
Meet the immensely talented Minneapolis artist Dan Raphael. For nearly a decade, he has quietly lived and painted from his studio, just off East Lake of the Isles Parkway. His modern reinterpretation of impressionism through oil on canvas dominates every corner inside his intriguing home.
Always an artist, Dan shares that, for him, “it’s interesting to break down a thought or idea or anything that might draw someone’s attention, and capture that emotion through art. Art is a result of interpretation.”
Growing up just outside Duluth on his family’s hobby farm in northern Minnesota, he recounts memories of long summers tending to and riding the many horses that neighbored his home, figures of which emanate from his colorful renditions of horse racing.
I married these memories and the equestrian lifestyle, it greatly influences my more recent subject matters
Ever keeping his mind and eyes open to ideas, his inspirations are drawn from a myriad of mediums, “From the details of sculpture to period films to antiques to fabrics—the past fascinates me and I tend to marry it with a colorful and modern impressionist twist.”
There is a societal suggestion, something about us as a culture, that discourages people from becoming artists,” says Minneapolis-based artist Dan Raphael. “The fact is that nothing has a guarantee, and you’ve got to be something. The most valuable thing in existing is to be fueled by things that fulfill you — no matter what that is.” As we sit in vintage armchairs surrounded by paintings, sipping iced tea on a muggy summer afternoon, Raphael is the embodiment of this philosophy — and he’s stepping out onto the national art scene to prove it.
The plush oriental rugs and potted plants in Raphael’s upper-level Uptown Minneapolis apartment (which doubles as his studio) do not detract from the abundance of whimsical and complex artwork covering the walls of the bungalow-styled space. An entire wall features painted vines with tiny, curious birds surrounding the rainbow palette of paint accompanying a half-finished canvas.
After an hours-long talk with Raphael, there remains the indubitable sense that even after a lifetime of conversation you’ll be no closer to understanding and interpreting the maze of thoughts and creativity swirling beneath the surface. Raphael’s wide variety of art reflects this complexity, not only in terms of subject matter and medium but also in the abstract backgrounds of his paintings, often inspired by memories of his childhood. He incorporates the past and present into the motif background of each painting. In addition to nostalgia and the world around him, impressionist artists such as Renoir heavily influence Raphael.
Francois, a peculiar blue character, decides he will prove to the world that he is the worlds greatest barber. How will he do this? He will perform every haircut from the top of a spiral staircase.