“Inspire, be inspired and appreciate – for that is the meaning of life!” — Dannion Brinkley
I AM. I am an immortal soul having a human experience as an artist.
Daz Lartist is the name I gave myself – my friends gave me the name of Daz at about the time the Sex Pistols were starting in the UK and I added the Lartist part years later. My parents gave me the name of Darren Cox but there are other people with that same name – they all seem pretty cool from what I’ve seen but I’m the one who defines himself through fine art out of the bunch!
I am currently residing in Peoria Illinois USA. I have lived in the UK, Hong Kong, Mississippi, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey as well.
I like to paint wall sized oil paintings as I can get my whole body into the brush strokes. What you see after I am done is just the remains of the work – as the fine art is Me in the zone doing it!
My art style is what I call Psychedelic Surrealism. I like to start with a grisaille and then (sometimes) I use glazes to add color. I have found that oil paints allow the greatest range of expression for me and I have worked very hard at mastering this medium.
I also am working on paintings in my garage studio where I can get extra messy if I want!
I am also puttering around with using Photoshop to manipulate images to create unique visual vistas as well as artsy and fun advertisements for my love Hollye who is writing a book based on the recollections of her life. She is great too!
I’m still the same artist I always was but not the same person physically or mentally now that I’m almost eligible for senior discounts! I’ve addressed issues that had made me a less cool person in the past so if I hurt you at one point I hope you take solace in the fact that I have done what I can to ensure that I will not make those mistakes again. People from my past still like me for the most part and if you were to look at my friends and family on Facebook you’ll see that they are among the most decent, cool and excellent examples of humanity. You can find me on facebook facebook.com/daz.lartist
I was a resident artist at The Studios on Sheridan (Peoria Illinois) in 2016 and was a resident artist at The Speakeasy Art Center (Pekin Illinois) before that. I have had my work in many gallery shows over the years. I think I’ve sold less paintings than Vincent Van Gogh did in his lifetime but no one can dispute that I’m not a real artist who has pushed the boundaries of fine art and totally inspired people!
Will I be famous, have an expensive coffee table book of my work published and get mentioned in art lectures? Probably not, but if I was a soul who decided to have the most amount of joy, appreciation and satisfaction in a lifetime as an artist in a human body and mind – I’d have set a life up to be me!
Below is copied from a local newspaper interview I did a few years ago when I was a resident artist at The Speakeasy Art Center in Pekin.
What’s your artistic goal?
To know that, regardless of circumstances, I can express myself uniquely and have the potential to inspire others to create even more art. The more art the better as all artists are peers.
After I left the Air Force in 1988 I made a decision to become a ‘great’ artist, not necessarily rich or famous or even beloved but just to stretch myself to the point where I felt that I could, if time and circumstances were favorable, make art of the quality and scale of the great masters I admire.
If you could have dinner with any artist (living or dead), who would it be? What would you ask them?
Peter Paul Rubens, brilliant Baroque painter and diplomat. Very few artists have ever, or will ever again, affect the relationship between countries, tipping the balance towards peace as Rubens did. Finding common ground between the kingdoms and city states, especially in the early days of the Protestant Reformation literally meant the difference between war and peace and Rubens was a man of peace. His self-portrait with his wife and son is my favorite, so personal, loving and inspirational so I would like to hear him talk about that!
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
That they aren’t ‘aspiring’ at all, you are either an artist or choose not to be one, but creativity is innate and all artists are peers regardless of what might be considered success. Art is not a competition with winners and losers, you are either in the club or choose not to be!
Where can people see more of your art?
If you ask the Speakeasy Art Center staff nicely and can walk up to the third floor, you can see my giant oil painting mural in progress!
What is the best part of the artistic process for you— starting, working, or finishing?
Working. When I am lost in the process I feel closer to my spirit and the worries of the world are forgotten!
What is your most treasured lesson?
In terms of fine art there are two major epiphanies that stand out. The first was my Italian Renaissance art history classes where I understood (by the sheer number of competent artists at that time) that ‘realism’ is a learned skill, a craft, not some mystical gift that only a lucky few can master. It takes longer to practice for some, but with basic vision and dexterity anyone with the desire to do so can paint a 2D object that looks 3D. The second was an understanding and appreciation the non-objective art of Mark Rothko which I had naively at first written off as a joke or a scam. I was only able to understand why his color field paintings were so highly regarded by critics by actually standing in front of one of them. Photographs do not capture the effect of the light reflecting back through the paint, it was a feeling that was beyond the visual and unlike anything I had experienced before, very enlightening in many ways!
What would give you the greatest satisfaction regarding your art?
To have an artist tell me that they were inspired by my work to go outside of their comfort zone and attempt something that they might have considered impossible before.
How has your artwork influenced different events in your life?
I’ve been a ‘starving artist’ my whole adult life. Like Paul Gauguin, I have and will (figuratively) dig ditches to be able to do my art, my way, and while I have a full time day job I work hard at, it is only for the money and otherwise irrelevant to what I consider important.
What is your favorite subject?
Allegorical figures. Using the female figure to represent something such as an idea or concept (The Statue of Liberty, for example, is an allegorical figure!).
Have you been influenced by any particular artistic movement?
All of them! The ancient Greek sculptors,The Mannerist era of the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Rococo, Victorian fairy paintings, Neoclassical sculpture, The Impressionists, The post-Impressionists, DaDa, Surrealism – if it’s in a museum somewhere I probably have a favorite or two from every movement!
How did you get started in art?
I’ve always been an artist but when I was around 11 or 12 my friend Edward was the one who first inspired me to seriously work at it. I wanted so badly to draw well and haven’t stopped since!
I am an ordained minister.
This is not a joke. I take spirituality very seriously or rather I have the highest respect for it. I want this page to be an official (as much as anything is officially official for what it’s worth) statement of my intent on how I will use my ministry.
At the bottom of the page is a link so that you can get (just about instantly) ordained too. This is made possible because of the Constitution of the United States.
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Essentially a citizen of the USA cannot be tested on his faith by the government. You don’t have to prove via an arbitrary standard set up by anyone or anything that you believe in a higher power.
If you want to follow a specific established religion then you may have to jump through all kinds of arbitrary tests of your faith. My ministry is affiliated with no organized religion and therefore has no established rules that automatically exclude you. If you are a living human being then you are already in my ministry!
Because I am a minister I must have a religion but it doesn’t have to be an officially established religion to be a religion and like I stated earlier – this isn’t a joke or some kind of art statement etc.
Let us begin with defining what religion is (as per dictionary.com anyway).
So what are my beliefs? I will list (some of) them below. I will modify these as I find a better set of words to convey what I mean but for now they stand as they are.
- Every living human being is an immortal soul having a temporary human experience.
- Every living human being has the right to free will (to make their own mind up about what they believe).
- Every living human being has their own unique purpose for existing that is just as valid and important as any other person.
- Good and bad may just be my human interpretation of neutral circumstances but to be human is to define things as such. For example I believe that being kind to fellow human beings and other living things is good and exploiting living things for personal gain is bad.
- I believe that having faith is a important factor in mental health and is good for the general populace. Faith can reinforce a positive attitude and as a general rule people tend to react nicer when around positive people! Faith facilitates bravery and fuels heroism!
- Seeking answers to the ‘meaning of life’ is a worthy pursuit but it is not necessary to live a full and spiritual life. You can go ‘down the rabbit hole’ or just be a ‘normal’ person but it doesn’t change your soul’s reason for having a human experience.
- Karma can be a real effect of energy attracting like energy. You get what you give so be positive, be kind, be generous and have faith!
We are given the gift of limitation with these human bodies and minds. The satisfaction of going beyond our perceived limits (often because of faith) is part of the fun but the experience of whatever happens is the point of it all.
I don’t believe that we are here as humans to fight against our human nature. Relax, God doesn’t make mistakes and you aren’t any less divine because you fart or like tits.
Just be you – if you are jerk, so be it but you might only be a jerk because your brain has been programmed to be that way (yeah, you can re-program it if you want). Your brain isn’t the whole you any more than your left big toe is the whole you. You are a divinely created being that is born into a world of apparent separation from the divine.
My experience shows that if you feel connected to the divine then you are less fearful of the unknown and more open to accept and appreciate your life instead of fighting against the circumstances you perceive as negative in it.
If you love yourself then you can love others!
If you want ‘evidence’ that God exists then perhaps I can help you with that. My search for the divine truth has lead me to write this and perhaps this is the point where I can help you.
This is my ministry.
I accept gifts and give gifts! https://www.paypal.me/DazLartist