Why drag a brush when you can just spray on colours and images?

Dennis Hanagan —

Danny Rosales knew from the moment he picked up the device it was just the thing he needed to make art.

That device was an airbrush gun. The Leslieville artist has spent the past eight years creating murals and other works across North America. He’s done works for Swiss Chalet, Shoeless Joes and Wild Wing restaurants.

Just recently he showed his art at the Ben Navaee Gallery on Queen E. in his neighbourhood. His start in art began with a happenstance encounter in a retail mall.

“I accidentally bumped into this guy doing a wall mural in a mall. I had nothing to do that day and I stayed a lot just watching him paint. I didn’t even know that art form existed, the airbrush,” Rosales told The Bulletin at Leslieville’s Tango Palace café with his assistant and business administrator Nataliia Zakharchenko.

“I guess he noticed I was there,” said Rosales. The two began talking about art and then, he says, the airbrusher “let me spray, just in this little section, really. I couldn’t have messed it up. I pressed the trigger and ever since then I was hooked.”

Leslieville artist Daniel Rosales and assistant Nataliia Zakharchenko with his work of Shania Twain.

Leslieville artist Daniel Rosales and assistant Nataliia Zakharchenko with his work of Shania Twain. Photo by Dennis Hanagan

Rosales eventually mastered the airbrush and from that has gone onto other art utensils. One of his works, a matador shown at the Navaee exhibit, was made using a blowtorch.

What draws Rosales to create art? “Everything. Life. I’ll be walking and I’ll see something. It’s weird how it happens. Or I might be on Google and I’ll see a photograph that inspires me to recreate it and give it my own touch.”

Rosales’s business is called Taggedart—but it has nothing to do with tagging which is often associated with graffiti. “I don’t do graffiti at all. Everything I do is photo-realism, to an extent.”

Rosales travels anywhere whenever he feels like to find things to paint. And he does it all from his living room—with his imagination.

“Today I was somewhere in Africa painting an elephant in the grasslands,” he said with a laugh. “In the morning I woke up to paint an elephant so I put myself in Africa. Just before I got here I was painting the sky, so I was in sky. How does it look, how does it feel. How can I make it look as real as possible.”

He loses himself in his work. “If I’m doing a face and it’s a big canvas and it’s a big face, but I’m focused in on the pupil then nothing else on the canvas matters.”

He’s also a stickler for perfection. “I might be focused in on a little circle for days at a time until I get it right.”

Rosales and Zakharchenko hope to make a documentary about the art of making art and possibly market it as a television piece. He films and photographs all his work sessions. “We want to get some good air time. What we have is unique.”

Samples of Rosales’s work can be seen at www.taggedart.com.