For this third edition of The “Art of Instagram,” I was able to get a hold of an artist who’s been catching my attention more and more recently. Daniel Flores, AKA @Deltatangomike (DTM) is a full-time artist based in Atlanta, GA. Apart from his pieces, thousands of followers are treated to a daily sketch, which never falls short of awesome. Daniel is always contributing to his art community, and I was able to get a phone interview from him in order to learn a bit about where he’s from and his artistic development, and the result was as follows:
Collective Lifestyle: Let’s begin with telling us a little bit about where you’re from.
Daniel: Okay. So I’m born and raised in East LA. I was there until I was eight years old, and then I moved to Mexico. I came back when I was 13, and I lived in East LA again for another three years. I ended up moving to Oregon, and that’s where I graduated from high school. All my drawing stuff started real early, back in LA.
CL: When did you end up moving to Atlanta?
Daniel: I was in the Marine Corps for a while. Once I left the Marine Corps, I decided to move somewhere where I’d never been. This was 1994.
CL: So how’d you get into art in general?
Daniel: Well, I’ve been drawing all my life. I didn’t know anything about art. I didn’t know there were art schools. I didn’t know people could get paid for drawing;I just liked drawing. I took one art class in high school. I almost failed because I didn’t like sitting around, and I assignments they were giving us. So I almost failed that class, but I never stopped drawing. I didn’t know how to become an artist, or how to get paid to be an artist. I just knew that’s what I wanted. Of course, this was ’94; you couldn’t Google any information on how to become an artist. So I just went at it. I started charging for my artwork and logos. I learned to do tattoos in ’95, and by ’97 I opened my own tattoo shop. 20 years later, I am doing this full time. I have much respect for those who fight traffic during rush hour (and that includes my wife, she is one of those people), but me, no. I’m sitting here at home, talking to you. I get paid to draw.
CL: How did you go about developing your style, which I find very unique as I’m sure others do too?
Daniel: That one’s tough… and I’m still trying new things, but you really don’t know what you’re doing. You know what you want to do, but you don’t know. You’re just trying things out to see what happens. So first I was trying things out to see what happens, but also the things that I like. So for a time I was copying other artists styles, trying out what they were doing. It’s okay to copy when you’re learning. Then I really developed the stuff that I liked. I liked drawing skulls, I like drawing pencil drawings… The more you do it, the better you get, and you’re style starts coming up. And your style may be based off someone else’s style, and that’s okay, but sooner or later it becomes yours. And I’m still learning new stuff. I’ve been painting more and more lately, and there’s a series of paintings I want to do. So it never ends; it never stops. And you may become known for a certain style, but eventually you’re going to get tired of that this week. You’re going to get tired of drawing and painting the same things, and once you aren’t feeling it, it’s time to move on to something else.
CL: Absolutely. Now, I know that for many artists still trying to develop their style, The problem sometimes is even coming up with what to draw. So what do you use for this creative process. For example, I know you draw many recognizable cartoon characters, so how much of an inspiration is that to you, and what else to use for inspiration?
Daniel: Well, as a kid that’s very inspiring. That’s because that’s your life, that’s what you are around. Growing up, comic books were a big inspiration. Sports were an inspiration. You know, that’s what inspired me, and that’s what I liked. You can walk out of the house and get inspired, or pick up a magazine or a book and get inspired. I’m inspired by music, movies, TV shows nowadays… some of the stuff that I draw now, I draw to make fun of something that happened before. I like drawing weird characters from TV shows. Growing up, I’ve been inspired by lots of things, and as time goes on there’s no shortage of inspiration.
CL: So do you have any current or future projects that you’re excited about?
Daniel: Yes, I have a lot of projects. Let me get my list out! *laughs* First, I’m a mentor, because I’ve been in the business for 20 years. I mentor other artists. I’ve been producing our shows since 2008. So I give artists advice, talk about how they’re doing, what they’re doing, and get them excited about following the path of the artist, and I teach a lot of workshops and classes. So I mentor through art shows, classes, etc. I think the education for the artist in the business of art is very important, to help the artist succeed. So on November 22, we have an art show coming up. So we’re hoping to see a big turnout… Artisking.org it’s a website, and I have an Instagram and Twitter for that (@artisking_atl). So that’s coming up, then I also have a mobile game that I’ve been working on for a year. I did a kickstarter campaign for it last year, we raised a lot of money for the legal paperwork. So now I’m working on to comic books and the mobile game that have to do with the characters that I’ve created. The game is called Art Life, and so the website for that is artlifethegame.com. Instagram for twitter for that is also @artlifethegame. We hope to be able to launch it for Androis, iOS, and Windows Phone. I have a few more things for next year, but those are the biggest projects that I have coming up.
CL: Awesome. Real quick, just to wrap this up, any message for the aspiring artists reading this?
Daniel: Yes. To the up-and-coming artists who have chosen art as their career, it’s going to be very, very hard, difficult, frustrating, painful, and extremely rewarding. If you love art, if you love creating, then you’re going to have a good time. If you’re looking to make a quick buck, you’re going in the wrong direction. But no matter what, you have to practice, practice, practice, and build your portfolio. That’s number one. You can’t talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Show that you can do the work. I never went to college I never went to school for art, I learned by doing; I learned by following other people’s art, and asking them what they do, and trying it out for myself over and over and over and over. So if there are artists out there that get paid to do art and I’m an artist, I think I should get paid from my art too. And if you’re an artist, then you could get paid for your art too. You just have to do the work. So, do the work.
Photo Source: Instagram