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Conversations with Daniel Sulzberg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Sulzberg. 

Hi Daniel, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I’m a proud native of Danville California where I grew up with a steady diet of Saturday Morning Cartoons, Nintendo Games, and comic books. My dad owned a local art gallery and I’ve been doodling in sketch pads from as early as I can remember. These early years I was already obsessed with creative storytelling through words and pictures and knew that it is what I was pretty much born to do. When I graduated college, I moved to Los Angeles and quickly explored many creative avenues, from being a screenwriter on the show Smallville, to being a concept artist at a video game company, all the way to being a Creative Director for Red Bull Cartoon. Soon, I realized that I enjoyed working with many different kinds of clients and that’s when I decided to become freelance. I called my company “Danvillage” based off of the worlds I used to create as a kid in my hometown and quickly invented many characters inside this world. Now, I feel lucky enough to bring these diverse, whimsical, fun, and unique characters to the rest of the world through editorial, advertising, animation, and other avenues. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There have definitely been lots of obstacles along the way. Having an older brother who was a professional fine artist produced a reluctance from my family for me to explore the arts. Being creative was thought to be something that would be a struggle to produce a living. Because of that, I didn’t pursue arts education until after my initial undergraduate program in college and I tried my hand at all kinds of creative jobs to figure out what was the right fit for me. I didn’t know that there was this one broad position called “Illustrator” that could be applied across so many creative fields. I was then lucky enough to meet a great mentor at UCLA when I pursued my graduate degree in communication arts who taught me how to create my own style and to really harness it, master it, and stick with it. That has led me to who I am now as an artist. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’ve become known as someone who creates illustrative worlds that are colorful, whimsical, weird, and fun. I’m also known for busy types of illustration with influences that include Murakami, Salvador Dali, and Dr. Seuss. The term “Horror Vacui” describes someone with a fear of empty space and that is a good way to describe my work. I am most proud of the fantastic collaborations I’ve had so far in my career which spans from the New York Times to working with my favorite soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. I’ve had the honor of working with some of my favorite musical artists, brands, and sports teams. I think what sets me apart is my unique sense of storytelling through a lens that is filled with diverse anthropomorphic characters that come from a place of unity, love, and overall good vibes. Hopefully, after viewing my work, you are left with a sense of wonder and a happy smile. 

This past year I collaborated with the Nashville Stars base ball team and the Negro League Museum to bring the first Nashville Stars baseball card set to life through Topps.  It was a limited edition set that included Negro league baseball greats such as Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron as well as a few musical acts who are on the Nashville Stars board like Luke Combs and Kane Brown.

What matters most to you? Why?
I look at my work as visual poetry and the thing that matters most to me is to leave a legacy to my kids that showcases artwork that is filled with themes of inclusion, diversity, family, love, fun, wonder, and adventure. These are themes that I want to pass on to my own kids as well as all those who consume my illustrations. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Danvillage Illustration

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