Abstract: In this interview, artist Daniel Brooks talks about his inspiration, and his passion for Michael Jackson, music and art.
Brooks, Daniel, “An Interview with Daniel Brooks.” Interview, The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies 5, no. 1 (2017). Published electronically 28/12/17. https://michaeljacksonstudies.org/an-interview-with-daniel-brooks/.
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An Interview with Daniel Brooks with The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies
Q1 – I just a single sentence, what does Michael Jackson mean to you?
He is my favourite artist and the most influential pop artist/entertainer of all time.
Q2 – Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your art?
I am an artist based just outside of London. I love music, films and art. Currently I’m primarily focusing on painting, my latest work is The MJ Series – a number of paintings inspired by Michael Jackson’s most iconic dance moves and performances.
Q3 – You created the ‘MJ Series’, what excited you most about the process?
It was a chance to really go in depth and study MJ, I focused on capturing him when he was at the peak of his powers in performance mode. At the beginning of the project I was watching countless videos to find his dance moves that best conveyed his energy and spirit. Then I picked out the most striking ones that additionally worked well as compositions and then reinterpreted them onto canvas.
Q4 – If you had a chance to meet and talk to Michael Jackson, what three questions would you ask him?
1. What is your daily creative process?
2. How did you stay so driven and motivated for so long?
3. Who was your biggest artistic influence?
Q5 – How and when did you decide to become a visual artist?
It started when I was a small child, I was obsessed with drawing and painting. I was inspired by my dad who was a creative director for an ad agency and he also painted. Through my teens I was creating work constantly and then went to art college. However, I lost my focus and spent way too much time partying with my friends. I then ended up working in sales for the next 10 years and had stopped painting completely. Luckily I was still surrounded by creative friends, and after some time this helped to reignite my own creativity. My best mate was in a band and they needed some artwork for their album cover and I managed to get the job. I soon rediscovered how much I enjoyed the process of doing daily creative work again – relearning the fundamentals of art and painting. I realised that it was now viable with the internet and social media to start building a platform to make and sell my work. So I decided to leave my job in recruitment and to commit full time to becoming an artist! I didn’t want to look back in years to come with regrets about not following my passions and dreams.
Q6 – Can you tell us about your personal fascination met Michael Jackson and why you made the series?
As a small child, I was obsessed with MJ. Then a few years back, I wanted to do a painting of him. I then realised I had so many ideas and compositions that it would work better as a cohesive body of work so I started to create a series of paintings.
Q7 – The MJ Series is featured on your site, did you paint more, other projects inspired by Michael Jackson?
Yes, I have twelve paintings inspired by his Smooth Criminal performance that I have just finished.
Q8 – Do you think there should be a place for Michael Jackson’s personal art in a museum or gallery?
Without a doubt yes, he was the biggest pop artist of the last century and had a bigger impact on pop culture than Picasso, Warhol and countless other fine artists.
Q9 – What, if any, influence did Michael Jackson have on you? Professionally? Personally?
I have taken massive inspiration from him in terms of how he constantly reinvented himself throughout his career. Additionally, his work rate was incredible – Artistically he never stopped growing, always pushing his talent and creative potential to the limit.
Q10 – Do you think there is a place for Michael Jackson in schools and Universities, studying his art?
Yes of course, there is lots to be learnt from studying his music, art and life. He was a modern day Renaissance man.
Q11 – Do you have plans for more projects on musicians/artists other than Michael Jackson that inspired you?
Music is one of my biggest passions, so I will definitely do more music inspired projects and paintings at some point in the future.
Q12 – Final thoughts: what does it mean to you to be one of the most well sought after Michael Jackson painters?
It’s always great when people take the time to appreciate my work. However, I can’t take too much credit as it’s hard to go too far wrong when you are doing portraits of probably the most popular/famous man of the last 100 years!
Thank you Daniel for taking the time to talk with us.