Darryl Daniels was born in Selma, Alabama in 1963 and lived equal parts of his upbringing in the Bronx borough of New York City and Alabama.
Largely self-taught, he was drawing from as early an age as he could remember on just about anything he could find. When he was seven years old, Darryl saw a print by the artist Norman Rockwell in one of his grandmother’s S&H Green Stamp catalogs. “I couldn’t believe that someone could draw people that well and decided to become as good at this as I could.”
When he was 14, Darryl became a student with the Art Instruction Schools, famous for their “Draw Blinky” ads, taking the course of study in which students would correspond with and have their work graded and critiqued by professional artists. He credits the course with helping him to hone drawing skills even further.
In high school, Darryl became much more interested in painting and later studied graphic and fine art at small college in West Virginia, where he was introduced to many different forms of art and was inspired by seeing the work of Salvador Dali. “Up until that time, fine art was just about drawing and bowls of fruit and nude figures. I had actually started looking at the possibility of taking a different career path. But I had an instructor named Jim Dean who really exposed us to so much more of the art world than I had known up until that point. I was really enthused to see that art could go to so many other places, and so, I did.”
While working as a graphic designer, Darryl was also searching to find his identity as an artist. His answer would come in the form of a growing admiration for jazz music and the jazz musicians he discovered while listening to the genre late at night during his college years. Darryl decided to combine his love for abstract, realist and figurative expression into a series of paintings beginning in 1990, which evolved into what is now known as “The JazzMen” series.
Some twenty-plus years later, works from and inspired by this series have appeared in television, commercial and film, on a half dozen CD covers, including Chick Corea’s Live In Montreux, several books on the history of jazz, a series of ties and scarves for Absolut Vodka, promotional material and billboards for events like the Syracuse Jazz Festival, cellphone covers and numerous poster and prints by several art publishing houses. Additionally, Darryl has also received awards from Print Magazine and the Southern Arts Foundation.
His original paintings are regularly in demand and are a part many collections around the world.