Daniel Sprick - portrait of the artist

Daniel Sprick

United States 1953



Daniel Sprick
Daniel Sprick
United States
April 2, 2016
Art somehow explains a lot that's happening in the world right now. Feel free to contact me at nikola.milosevic777@gmail.com

Historia magistra vitae est. The history is life’s teacher. Similarly, Daniel Sprick simply can’t separate himself from the art history. So many great artists lived, and so many live today, and in all of them Sprick finds inspiration. These great ones have pushed the understanding of art beyond limits, and the Daniel wants to push just as hard, to reach new heights, to explore even further. But, this type of inspiration has its price. So many people in the 20th century were simply crushed by the weight of the history, by the fact that so many magnificent things have been accomplished, and once you free yourself from that fear, from the thoughts that you’re unworthy, only then you can become great yourself. The history is not finished, and we’re not just able to match those great deeds of the past, we’re more than able to surpass them, to create something new, something extraordinary.

The artists living today are able to surpass the great ones from the past

Daniel Sprick - Tho (detail), 2012, american oil painter 2014 video about the museum
Daniel Sprick – Tho (detail), 2012

From Renaissance to the Contemporary

As mentioned, the history teaches us some invaluable lessons about life, about art. For Sprick, Northern and Italian Renaissance are the periods some of his favorite artworks were done. Starting with the 1400s, and going forward to the work of Hans Holbein and Vermeer. When talking about the depth and sincerity, both Baroque and Renaissance painting have become a standard for the artist. The idea of working with no limit on the labor required to finish the piece is appealing to him. Also, he loves the Naturalist School, which was active in the 19th century, especially Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret and Jules Dupre. In fact, Sprick’s work looks a lot more like the 19th-century pieces than a Renaissance ones, even though he likes the earlier period more. But, what he actually tends to do, is the modern time. He seeks to capture the sensibility of our time, and how the objects and people look today.

The artist seeks to capture the sensibility of the modern times

Daniel Sprick - Remains, 2011
Daniel Sprick – Remains, 2011

Don’t Seek Perfection

The process begins with drawing an accurate silhouette. If you ask the artist what is the most formal concern while he paints, he will tell you it’s a good drawing. That doesn’t necessarily means precisely accurate, although he strives for accuracy, but fails to achieve it completely. And those tiny failures create opportunities and space for a certain expressivity, which is the main reason the art is worth doing. Technically flawless painting, which is lifeless, has no meaning. The expression is the whole purpose, as Sprick wants to express a level of feelings and emotions that hold some meaning to the others, not just to himself. Otherwise, he would have never shown any of his pieces to anyone. If he’s painting a portrait, he will intentionally leave the area around the head white, since the background is a compositional element. Later on, when the paint is being applied, those white parts will be painted with a combination of titanium white a cad yellow pale, creating a warm white which glows like no other color. It became a constant in his work, and it makes the artist think about the testimonials of people who have experienced near-death situations and the one thing they all had in common – and that is the enveloping white light they saw.

Technically flawless painting, which is lifeless, has no meaning

Daniel Sprick - Melanie, 2009 - Chief Ironshell, 2013, the video about the american oli painter was shown in the Denver museum in 2014
Daniel Sprick – Melanie, 2009 / Chief Ironshell, 2013

Repetitive, Yet Different

Sprick is interested in all walks of life, everyone. Some who are considered to be conventionally beautiful, other that are not, everyone in between, the still-life, everything he does, he tries to make it more interesting that it actually is. The compositions are repetitive, but the faces are different, and the fact they vary so dramatically makes up for that repetitiveness. He considers his work to be similar to what a novelist does, and people he paints are pleased how they turn out, or they are displeased. The artist alters his subjects in a way even he can’t explain, as their own narrative could be, and is, substituted by a variety of different stories. He hopes that a viewer will see a piece of humanity, but also a piece of himself watching the paintings.

The narrative of the subjects is substituted by a variety of different stories

Daniel Sprick - Tom T, 2009 - Tom M, 2010, the series of oil artworks was shown in the museum in 2015
Daniel Sprick – Tom T, 2009 / Tom M, 2010

Loving the Art

Daniel Sprick was born in Little Rock in Arkansas. Before receiving his BA from the University of Northern Colorado in 1978, he studied at the Mesa College, Grand Junction, the Ramon Froman School of Art and the National Academy of Design in New York. His love for the art started with his fascination of drawing at the age of four, and it evolved into the very realistic rendering of his vision. The ideas are modern but the techniques applied are traditional. He infuses a baroque sense of light and adds an irony that is subtle. Tensions between interior and exterior, tradition and experiment, distance and intimacy, charm and weirdness, and literal representation and emotional expression fill Daniel Sprick’s paintings.

The ideas are modern but the techniques applied are traditional

Daniel Sprick - Trailer Park, 2000
Daniel Sprick – Trailer Park, 2000

Make a Difference and Be Remembered

Sprick’s obsession with art may have begun at the age of four, but as he admits, he didn’t know how to be a professional artist until his mid-twenties. He even thought it was too late for him to make some difference, to forge a name for himself and be remembered. Now he creates with intensity and joy, with a goal of surpassing the legends that lived and painted before him. Any sign of transcendence in any of the days is more than welcome, and yet he sticks to the realist tradition. Nevertheless, his views are completely contemporary.

He is represented by Gallery 1261 in Denver, USA.

Daniel Sprick lives and works in Denver.

Featured image: portrait of the artist, photo credits Alia El-Bermani.

All images copyright Daniel Sprick.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015The Renaissance of RealismGallery 1261, Denver, COGroup
2015Small WorksGallery 1261, Denver, COGroup
2015UnfurlGallery 1261, Denver, COGroup
2014Daniel Sprick's Finctions: Recent WorksDenver Art Museum, Denver, COSolo
2014Contemporary RealismGallery 1261, Denver, COGroup
2014Re-presenting the nude IIIEvoke Contemporary, Santa Fe, NMGroup
2014Group X-2Gallery 1261, Denver, COGroup
2013Contemporary RealismGallery 1261, Denver, COGroup
2003Daniel SprickMariani Gallery University of Northern Colorado - Greeley, COSolo
2003Fifth Annual Realism InvitationalJenkins Johnson Gallery - San Francisco, CAGroup
2003Salon d'ArtsColorado History Museum, Denver, COGroup
2003Foothills Art Center's 35th Anniversary ExhibitionSt. Golden, COGroup
2003Magic RealismSangre De Cristo Center for the ArtsGroup
2002Daniel SprickEvansville Museum of Art & Science, Evansville, INSolo
2002San Fancisco International Art ExpositionSan Francisco, CAGroup
2001Daniel SprickMerrill-Johnson Gallery of Fine Art, Denver, COSolo
2001The Art of Illusion, LA County FairMillard Sheets Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Group
2001Representing RepresentationThe Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NYGroup
2000Group ExhibitionJohn Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2000Realism TodayTaos Art Museum, Taos, NM Group
1999Daniel SprickDenver Art Museum, Denver, COSolo
1999Realism InvitationalJenkins-Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, DAGroup
1999Drawing ExhibitionJohn Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Group
1999Trompe’oeil, Art & IllusionJohn Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
1998Daniel SprickThe Merrill Gallery, Denver, COSolo
1996Daniel SprickBarney Wycoff Gallery, Aspen, COSolo
1995Daniel SprickThe Gerald Wunderlich Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1994Daniel SprickCarol Siple Gallery, Denver, COSolo
1994Contemporary RealismGerold Wunderlich & Co., New York, NYGroup
1994UnknownArvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, COGroup
1993Daniel SprickHunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TNSolo
1993Governor’s InvitationalLoveland, COGroup
1993Contemporary RealistsDenver Art Museum, Denver, COGroup
1993Contemporary Self Portraits from the James Goode CollectionSmithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.Group
1993Still Life: 1963-1993Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM Group
1992Daniel SprickLouis Newman Gallery, Beverly Hills, CASolo
1992Two person exhibition: Daniel Sprick and Mark DailyCarol Siple Gallery, Denver, COGroup
1991Daniel SprickAspen Art Museum, Aspen, COSolo
1991American Still Life PaintingsMinnesota Museum of Art, Minneapolis, MNGroup
1990Daniel SprickBishop Gallery, Scottsdale, AZSolo
1990Daniel SprickGlenwood Springs Center for the Arts, Glenwood Springs, COSolo
1990Colorado 1990Denver Art Museum, Denver, COGroup
1989Daniel SprickMariani Gallery University of Northern Colorado - Greeley, COSolo
1989Daniel SprickSherry French Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1989Love and Charity: The Tradition of Caritas in Contemporary PaintingSherry French Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1989Love and Charity: The Tradition of Caritas in Contemporary PaintingDowd Fine Arts Gallery, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NYGroup
1989Love and Charity: The Tradition of Caritas in Contemporary PaintingThe Noyes Museum, Oceanville, NJGroup
1989Love and Charity: The Tradition of Caritas in Contemporary PaintingRoland Gibson GalleryGroup
1989Love and Charity: The Tradition of Caritas in Contemporary PaintingSUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NYGroup
1989Trains and Planes - The Influence of Locomotion in American PaintingSherry French Gallery , New York, NYGroup
1989Colorado ArtistsKennedy Center, Washington, DCGroup
1989The Food ShowGrand Central Art Galleries, New York, NYGroup
1989Revelation and Devotion: The Spirit of Religion in contemporary ArtSherry French Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1988Collector’s ShowThe Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, ARGroup
1987Contemporary Realism-Exhibition of Drawings and PaintingsClara Hatton Gallery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, COSolo
1987Contemporary Realism-Exhibition of Drawings and PaintingsThe Art Center at Appalshop, Inc., Whitesburg, KYSolo
1987Artists of AmericaColorado History Museum, Denver, COGroup
1987Contemporary RealismGrand Central Art Galleries, New YorkGroup
1987Art for the ParksNational Park Academy of the Arts, Jackson Hole, WYGroup
1987The Tradition of Vanitas in Contemporary PaintingSherry French Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1986Art USAWestern Colorado Center for the Fine Arts, Grand Junction, COGroup
1985American Artists National CompetitionGrand Central Art Galleries, New York, NYGroup
1985Artists of the WestPioneers’ Museum Show, Colorado Springs, COGroup
1984Gallery Group ShowCarson-Siple Gallery, Denver, COGroup
1982Colorado Oil PaintingFoothills Fie Arts Center, Golden, COGroup
1980Daniel SprickCapricorn Gallery, Bethesda, MDSolo
1978Daniel SprickStudents Center Gallery, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, COSolo