When the doctors diagnosed her a disability and predicted she could not have a normal life, Danielle did not surrender and transformed that “inability” into “capacity” to get what she set out to do.
The doctors were right about one thing: her life is not “a normal life”.
My message is to encourage the underdog to challenge the impossible and live with faith, love, and dedication to the greater good. When I set out to be good at surfing as well. People laughed at me and brused me off completely. Today I am 3 time Hawaii State Champion.
Hi, Danielle. Tell us about yourself.
Art is my voice. I have struggled with dyslexia all my life. It was always hard to me to say what I had to say without being corrected, leaving me to be unheard. I felt that so many people spent so much time trying to correct me that what I had to say was always lost.
When I moved to Hawaii, my artwork took on a new life as I was greatly inspired after meeting my husband, Sam. Later on, I became very ill with Meningitis, I began to loose my eye sight, and was told that this might kill me.
There was a point where I’m pretty sure I died, or had a near death experience. My third day in the hospital, I left earth and found myself in heaven, standing with God. From the clouds we stood looking down on the world, and he showed me, sitting in from of a BIG canvas getting ready to paint. Without speaking a word, God out his hand on my back, some how spoke to me that it wasn’t my time yet.
He told me that I have a message to give to the world through my work, through my experiences, through living in the light even in darkness, and that I needed to go back and share the message of hope, and heaven.
I woke up in the hospital, and miraculously got better and released in two days. The doctors told me it takes about a month to regain an immune system to survive the outside, and here I was leaving the hospital two days later. It was something out of a movie.
As I sat down to paint, I couldn’t believe the things I all of a sudden could paint. Prior to this experience, I was unable to paint faces, create depth, or even get out my message as clear as I have intended. Since coming back to life, I could paint anything I imagined.
God’s hands were on my life forever, since even before I met him. Going to college, being a professional athlete, or even being able to over come my “ disability” was explained by doctors as “an immense impossibility”.
However, with lots of schooling, training, failing, struggling, learning, and overcoming with passion, I not only shattered impossibility, but also silenced the critics, indefinably.
Not only did I over come my disability, I excelled, wildly. I graduated Flagler Palm Coast High School and was awarded with a highly prestigious award, The Stars Scholarship from the University of Women, as well as an Athletic Soccer Scholarship to Florida Southern College. I earned a weighted 3.9-4.0 GPA through college, and graduate with high honors, Summa/Magna Cum Laude as Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Associate of Sports Management. I managed to set several athletic records, in collegiate soccer history, that still stand in my name to this day.
Upon graduating from FSC, I was offered an additional opportunity to play overseas professionally, but quickly declined the opportunity to pursue a life most people saw to be outlandish and unachievable, and was criticized to be a “waste of talent”.
After college, I worked several waitressing and freelance graphic design jobs, until I joined forces with one of the most successful surfing magazines of all time, Eastern Surf Magazine. I worked as a Graphic Designer and fell in love with the sport of surfing and imagined myself in a place where I could surf and live as free as I dreamed. The team at ESM gave me a fully detailed education in surf culture, which I describe as “the birth of my true self-exploration”.
Today I am so blessed to be titled “One of the most exciting new artist to come along in decades.” by professional art critics around the world.
How did you learn to paint? In schools or in a self-taught way?
I went to Florida Southern College to be a doctor. I did not enjoy my studies, and decided to go study graphic design.
I had training in figure drawing, but my teacher would tell me my drawing stills were hopeless, and he was right. I was no good at it.
Over the years I studied people, things in great detail. I began to look at things differently, I found beauty in the things people forgot to look at, and my talent started to come out.
However, it was not until Hawaii, that the God fully brought the artist in me to the surface. He used the ocean to open my eyes, to keep my wild heart attentive, and gave my life it’s meaning to paint for those who need the messages I’m given.
So yes, I learned a little bit in college, but I learned the most on my own time and experience.
I believe that you can not be a good artist until you become honest with yourself, with you mission, with what you are passionate about. If you hide from life, you can never create from that fear. It’s takes giving life everything you have, no matter what you have been through to make great things in life.
We are all here to learn from one another. And since we can’t experience everything in a lfie time, we are resources to each other, for each other to grow into a greater purpose.
Who is your favorite artist?
I LOVE Jay Alders, Karol Bac, and Im’ obsessed with Brian Viveros. I actually was told that one or two of my works reminded them of Brian, and then I discover him, and loved his message and purpose.
Beyond that I look at all people as artist. There are surfers out there like my husband, who are very artistic with their style of surfing. There are people out there who have talents; they way they look at others, the way the treat others, the way the move, speak, live, laugh, that is actually an art.
And I appreciate so much and so many people like that out there. Everyone has an artist in them and when I find that people are using it, even if they don’t know it, they become my favorite artist.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The ocean, amazing people, being wild, surfing, and just living.
I guess God is my main inspiration since he allows my to be alive still, and gave me some of his love to do what I do. As funny as this sounds, I run, and during my runs I feel I do my best paintings…I think my best, and create my best in times I can leave my body and explore my mind. And for me running is that.
How does art make you feel?
Alive, very alive. I think art is the reason I got a second chance. People look at my work and feel something powerful, something greater.
When people tell me they understand, or take something positive away from it, I feel like I am doing what I was born to do.
We are all given talents, arts, a way to make a difference, and when we do that, we know why were each alive.
Art makes me feel lucky, wild, free, and able to explore the world in an instant. Art also has connected me with that I like to call my “once in a lifetime” people, who came into my life and changed me forever.
Your work is exhibited in a gallery or magazine?
Currently I am hanging on to my work. I am keeping my work displayed online until the right venue comes along.
I want to share my work with a gallery/people who are just as in love with what we are all doing as I am.
I have worked with several wonderful galleries and know that the right time and place will come to share my work.
I has the amazing experience to show my work in Tokyo, California, Florida, all the Hawaii islands, and hopefully many more places. I am just going on my journey to the places they are meant to take me.
Thank you Danielle for sharing your story with us.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Love, Danielle