“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!
June 2018 – I am currently working as much as I can in my non-day job time on murals at Studio C Fitness in Peoria which is a perfect situation for an artist like me! There is a positive energy in that space and it makes me inspired to know that happy, sweaty people are dancing in front of my art just about every day!!
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!