Ep.202: Choosing the right art education with Daniel Folta (Evolve Artist)

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Sep 03, 2019 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Daniel Folta, the student of classical oil painting at The Art Academy and Evolve Artist program. He apprenticed under master portrait-painter Kevin Murphy, our guest in episode 197. He talks about his experiences of choosing the right art education, being an apprentice under Kevin, and becoming a full time artist, making a living from making art. Enjoy!!

Get in touch with Daniel

Evolve Artist unboxing

Special thanks to Daniel for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Daniel Folta, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Iva Mikles  

So welcome everyone to a new episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have Daniel here. Hello. So welcome. And I’m really happy that you joined us here because I am very curious about your story. And as some of you guys already know, I interviewed Kevin some time ago. And I learned also about David, where we talked about the traditional art. And yeah, he went through the program with Kevin, so I wanted to hear his story. And hopefully you guys as well, so. So if you can tell us a little bit more about yourself at the beginning, how did you start to them? You know, all of that?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, absolutely. So

Daniel Folta  

you have my, I was one of those kids who did not have the, you know, all these kids gonna become an artist one day store that was not me at all. Actually, growing up, I never, ever considered myself to be artistic. But I wasn’t writing stories. And I guess I did do some, like random drawings to go with the stories that I made when I was really, really young. But no, like, you know, no one ever thought that my artwork was good or anything I didn’t think I didn’t really have even have a passion for it. And but then, when I was 15, my mom had heard about some student who had done really well at this art school locally nearby, that Kevin was, he was teaching that school. And so my brother went, and then eventually, I went along, and I remember at first, I didn’t even want to go, because I was afraid that like, my creative, creative juices, were going to be lost if I got, you know, some kind of official education or something, couldn’t be further from the truth. But I went to the class and Kevin judo, he showed me some of the the basics, you know, how to hold a pencil how to fill in a square and, and then eventually, he taught me how to make ingredients. And, you know, seem pretty straightforward. But then, after he finished, he said, Come back to me when it’s perfect. And I was thinking, perfect. Okay, you know, that’s kind of an odd thing to say. So I work on the gradient, and I do a pretty good job. And so I go, and I find Kevin, I say, Hey, Kevin, I’m done. And he doesn’t even go and look over the gradient. He just asked me, Is it perfect? Like?

Daniel Folta  

No, no, like, I mean, come on, like, nothing is perfect, you know? And so then he says, we’ll

Daniel Folta  

go back, find out why it’s not perfect. And make it perfect. And so

Iva Mikles  

that’s a very good way to think about it. Yeah. Before we actually go to the details of like, how you are learning and stuff. So I would like to know, like, what actually motivated you to do art and kind of what stage of your life you were in, you know, like, High School University doing, like, a full time job somewhere else. And you know, like, this little bit of your life story, like, Who are you kind of now and, you know, what is your like, specialty and kind of this type of? Bit? Yeah,

Daniel Folta  

sure. Okay. So yeah, brief summary. I got into art when I was 15, which seems to as I’m telling now, and then it was really, when I was 17 years old, that I decided I want to become a professional artist, which I now am. And then after I graduated from college with a marketing degree, I also realized that when I would have conversation with people actually would talk more about art education than my own art. And I just, you know, my own story, as I’ll be sharing is one where, you know, it’s I didn’t have like, I never even imagined that I could be doing what I can do now. And so and there’s so many people out there who, you know, when they’re kids, they want to become an artist, but then just life just tells them that they can’t, and so to to really be able to say like, Hey, I’m one of those kids who didn’t even have any special talent to begin with. And yet, you know, this training has kind of brought me there, and to just show the people that as possible, is really rewarding thing. And so I’ve really put a lot of time into that as well. In addition to my professional fine art, the fine art that I do is classical style oil painting. And I really enjoy portraits. I really love portraits, and I’ve recently been loving it even more is just trying, you know, capturing who somebody is such a neat thing. But I also love narrative pieces like telling a story. Within one painting is also a really fascinating thing for me and I enjoy those kinds of pieces as well.

Iva Mikles  

And now you work mostly Real ends or commission base or Yeah, so yeah.

Daniel Folta  

commission based. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, that’s basically the brunt of my work is commission based. And then I also work with evolve artists, which is the online art program that we offer.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So yeah, probably guys notice the you know, like, if you’re like listening or watching now on the Art Side of Life website, I also mentioned, evolve program, because as you might know, I am not an expert in oil painting or traditional portrait. So we partnered with evolve to kind of bring you also this experience if you would be interested in these type of things. So yeah, so you can check it out there. And I will also put link in the description where because I think it’s super interesting the way to learn all of these skills, because it’s not only about the traditional art, but also the values and how to master the traditional techniques and everything together and how to sell yourself also on the market to actually earn money. So yeah, so this is also what the I guess, inspired you to do this program? When you are like, Okay, well, yeah, learn?

Daniel Folta  

Yep, absolutely. Yeah. And again, it was really, I’ll get there. Because when I was 17, when everything started to click to me, because I, I was, so I started taking art. And then it was too later that I really realized like, wow, I want to do this. And I want to take this seriously.

Iva Mikles  

So what made you decide for, for example, traditional, or the oil paints? Or, like, did you decide for this, I want to do traditional? And then there was the program with Kevin when they were teaching with oils, or where you’re like, I don’t care which tools at the beginning. And I just want to, like make something like realistic or what was your motivation? Or like decision making in this process? Like how to learn? Yeah, what

Daniel Folta  

I really didn’t have any motivation. In the beginning at all, I my mom just brought me to the class. And I was definitely open minded, you know, I enjoyed the idea of of making art, but I didn’t really care what medium that was. So I was kind of just going through the motions a lot when I was just a kid, and didn’t really start to find, you know, the intention until later. But now, I definitely enjoy oil painting. There’s just so much depth and depth to it that you can create. And I love that, you know, there’s like the amount of layers that you can create and how detailed you can get. And so yeah, I’ve just fell in love with it, the more I work with it.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so what was kind of the thing, which helped you progress the most, if you doubt when we talked about the bugs with shading in the squares? So yeah, was there like something else? You want to mention? Like, this is like, crazy progress?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, so yeah, let me get back to that gradient story, because that really sets the stage for my my personal story. So So Kevin had told me, you know, find out why the grading is not perfect, and make it perfect. And, and, as you can imagine, that really frustrated me. But I went back to the gradient, and I, you know, kept working on I’m just thinking all the time, like, Who is this guy who thinks that, you know, something could be perfect, and I keep working, and I keep I just was, you know, working harder. And finally, you know, maybe an hour later, Kevin comes over, and he says, Okay, that’s good enough, you can stop. And so I left, I left class that day, with no limitations, about what I could achieve. Because, you know, it’s not every day that someone comes up to you and says, something needs to be perfect. You know, like, we’re here, like, all like, you know, do a good job, or, you know, do your best. But those those words are often that there’s so much you can settle on, you know, because someone can say do your best, but then in the same breath, say all but at least you did your best, you know. And so, you know, for Kevin to kind of say like, this is what your standards are, and but I’m putting your standards up here. And at first, I didn’t even think I could get there. But he just shattered that that ceiling, I guess for me. And so it was so challenging that it kind of kept me coming back. And so I kept coming back to to that school, because it was challenging, and it was so rewarding. You know, within a few months, I was producing photorealistic drawings. And it was it was just like the coolest thing. It’s like we’re having like, I’m focusing on the little things that Kevin is teaching me and I’m getting these results. But I had to really apply my brain and I had to push my limits, you know, above what I originally thought I could do. Because again, I I really just stumbled into this whole world of art and I never imagined that I could be doing anything like this. It wasn’t even a thought in my head. You know? And so then over time, about guessing, then I took two years of just taking class once a week, two and a half hours. And by the end of it, I’ve had produced this painting called Troy, it’s on my website. And it was really after that painting that I begin, something shift shifted in me, it wasn’t just following this process anymore. And, and, you know, making cool art, but it was actually, I began to see the world differently. You know, like, like, I could be in a kitchen. And, you know, I see like a stovetop, and, you know, that stovetop is made up of values, edges and colors, or some combination of them creates that, and then you put the frying pan on, and you get the chicken going and, and the, you know, starts to like angrily sizzle, and you know, smoke starts coming out. And then you know, the seasoning comes in, you put the spinach on the spinach kind of like melts to the chicken and all these things, it’s, they’re just values, edges and colors, and the combination of them is so like, I began to see the world differently, you know, like the process that Kevin gave me, at the time, those two years back, you know, obviously, when when we teach someone we don’t want to, we don’t want someone to stick with a process be stuck in a process at the like, at the end of their journey of learning. When you get to professional level work you want to be you don’t want to be locked into a process anymore. But the process in the beginning, what it does is gives you rules, it gives you those basic building blocks of foundation to kind of set your feet on. And so what I’ve been learning while following the process was how to see differently, how to how to see things and break them down for what they were simplify them in my head and then build a rebuild it. So you know, that’s really what art is all about. It’s like changing the way that you see things. So once once I realized that, that I was now seeing the world differently, I then decided, I want to express that when I express what I’m seeing. And that’s when I decided I want to become an artist and I want to take this seriously. Yes, yeah. So it wasn’t the most straightforward journey where I wanted to be an artist and I made it happen, I really kind of stumbled my way into it. But it was because, you know, the amount of results that I was those little successes along the way helped me realize that this was possible. And it was something I didn’t even imagine I couldn’t, could do in the first place. So

Iva Mikles  

for sure, and it can, someone can actually show you like how you can observe and see the real life because yeah, you can try to copy other artists at the beginning when you’re learning and just see what techniques they use and combine that I mean, yeah, you you don’t understand why they may be they made the choice, or how they simplified. So if someone can help you to understand these, then you can progress faster. And it’s like, yeah,

Daniel Folta  

absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I really enjoy just like even talking with friends and sharing. You know, like, if you look at like, just like, take a look at this thing. You know, you think it’s black. But there’s actually, you know, all this stuff is happening visually, you know, in this, say, this black object, and it kind of just opens their mind a little bit to the visual world that we live in. Yeah, sure. Yeah. So I love that.

Iva Mikles  

Because also, and I started to study color and live and how you reflect in the world and different light conditions and different materials, how they reflect the light. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is crazy. And yeah, and when you translate it into art, and it’s just yeah, super fascinating for me as well.

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, absolutely true.

Iva Mikles  

If you think about also your learning process, and, you know, like, what made you progress the most? But maybe also, what was the most difficult time you know, of your artistic career? Like, when did you struggle the most?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah. I did struggle to follow the rules for a while. You know, because especially because we often think about art as this thing where it’s like, well, art is the one place where rules don’t exist, you know?

Iva Mikles  

It’s still physics.

Daniel Folta  

Yeah. And so I was constantly breaking the rules and trying to do things my own way and not listening to Kevin. And I just kept, you know, tanking on my own, I really couldn’t do it on my own. I kept, you know, keep trying to do this. Something this way, you know, what if I do like that and just hit one, one wall after another, and it wasn’t able to get the result I wanted. But then after seeing that, a couple helped me realize, oh, actually, this process that I’ve been following is really the way to go. So that was a struggle and then also temperature shifts. For sure. I remember, you know, you put like a, say, like a white object up on the table and it has a yellow light on it. And I tried to break that mold. It’s like it’s not, it’s not actually white, you know, it has to be something other than why it can’t just take, you know, titanium white, and just put it down and put on the campus. It doesn’t work like that. And just wanting to be able to see the different color shifts, and everything was very, it took a long time. But now that I see it, it’s impossible not to see every day.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, exactly. And you when you start noticing also the colors of the of the shadows, right. And it’s not Yeah, it’s just like bark. Like, when does he like affect the color of the object then, as we mentioned, the surface and the other lights in the room or outside and all of these and when you as you mentioned, once you’re like, yeah, it’s just there. As you mentioned the rules. It’s, yeah, I was also first like, okay, so what kind of rules you need to learn and all of that. But like, also, I think if I’m not mistaken, like Picasso, he was drawing realistic paintings at the beginning. And he learned all the rules, and then he was just okay, now I can break them because I understand.

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, yeah, that’s actually my my favorite quote by him is learn the rules like a pro so that you can break down like an artist.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, exactly. Because then you can start to be creative. And yeah.

Daniel Folta  

Right. And it’s what you can’t, you can’t break the rules until you know what they are. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

exactly. Yeah. More Yeah, like, technical because sometimes people think like, oh, yeah, okay, I want to be creative and artists. So that’s why I do art, because I don’t want to follow any rules. But then it limits you. In some sense, I would say, yeah, absolutely. Because, yeah, of course, we all like to be creative. We love colors, or just like black and white simplicity or something like that. But yeah, to be able to create something cool.

Daniel Folta  

Right? Well, I think, when you understand what the rules are, then when you when you decide to break it, you’re breaking it with a certain intention, you know, you have a reason in mind. And, and you’re able to, you know, like the rules, they become like a tool belt, they’re not, they’re not like something that restricts you anymore. They’re just a tool that you can use. And so, you know, you can apply, like, I’ll have these rules working for me in this painting, and then I’m going to break a few right here, in such a way that’s going to kind of create this effect, or, you know, however that works. But it’s so much more sophisticated than this chaotic, you know, mess that you would make otherwise, if you’re just, you know, trying to emotionally vomit on a piece of canvas, if you

Iva Mikles  

did you see your progress, like right away after like, few hours? Or was it when you compare, like few months? And did you repaint the maybe the same piece? Or how was it like, was it the 10,000 hours? People save the practice?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, it didn’t take practice. But I was producing photorealistic work within a few months. And so I mean, yeah, I mean, so it was very, very rewarding. Right off the bat. So, and again, at the time, I didn’t really understand like, how it was that I was making those photorealistic works. You know, I didn’t have the understanding. I was just following the process. And then the understanding came later. But yes, I would say relatively, it was pretty immediate. It still took took lots of hours and discipline, to you know, get on the other side of understanding. But in terms of just following the process, that the results are pretty immediate. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And do you still practice in? Like, I don’t know, if you go outside to draw random people on the street? Or is it mostly that you draw in your studio? Or how do you like practice now?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, most of the time I paint within the studio. I’ve been doing one fun thing lately, where I’ll just invite my friends to come sit and model then we have a bunch of artists, artists, friends, and we’ll just paint that model. It’s been a lot of fun. And then every once in a while, I will go outside do some plein air painting or outside painting? And that’s really, really fun, too. But yeah, most of my work is within the studio. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And then you have like, do you limit yourself with for example, the color palette and like tools you use also, especially when you go out? When you have like maybe a limited amount you can take with you or the same tools when you are out or in the studio.

Daniel Folta  

That’s actually funny. You mentioned that because just the other day, you know, it’s funny, like, there’s no there’s no end to art education, right? Because just the other day, Kevin was telling me he’s like, have you noticed that all of your skin tones use the same exact color palette? And I was like, Oh my gosh, he’s right, you know, and so yes, I guess the answer is I do use a limited color palette but whether or not I should I I’m still learning that one.

Iva Mikles  

So you have your favorite go to colors for now. And you want to go explore new tones, I guess in the future. Yep. Maybe some Hulk type of colors? Or green sick dogs. That might be the case and you have your I guess, favorite brand, maybe for painting because a lot of oil painters use that one what you’re using as well, right? Yes, yeah, the whole end? Or do you also use different brands?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, so I just use old Holland. I have, I haven’t experimented a lot with other paints. But I did start off with a student grade paint, which definitely did the job at at first, but then I thought it was I thought it was fine. And then Kevin gave me a set of old Holland. And, you know, sort of like, once you get a smartphone, you can’t go back. You know, sort of like that. It’s like once you get old Holland, and you just can’t go back. And so I stuck with it. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

But what helps maybe someone who is just starting out, it’s it’s good to try maybe one or two pains, even if you don’t sign up for for like a big program and you want to try like more expensive paint and you have maybe one or two favorite colors, and you don’t go for photorealistic yet. And you just want to try and experiment, maybe the investment into like one or two paints tubes, then it’s like, it’s good to try to have the feel for the for the color and at least try like icons, or like painting a leave for or something at the beginning.

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I, I’m a big fan of experimenting. So I would always encourage that. I think I guess in that regard, I just would be careful that like, I mean, you could take a piece of it, you could take like a little bit of really expensive paint, but if you don’t know how to how to use it, you know, you might be, you know, might not be the best investment if you’re just like, you know, using it in a way that it shouldn’t be used, I guess. So there is a little bit of knowledge that can definitely help with experiments,

Iva Mikles  

if that’s I mean, it’s always better if you have someone you know, to save you time and basically money experimenting. But you know, if someone doesn’t want to do that, they can just try this. Like if I want to, for example, try different brands of you know, pencils, or paints, then I try like one maybe if I’m like, oh, and then if I love it, then I find someone who can like help me with like, Okay, this is how you can use them. And this is like, this is what you can do. Oh, all the crazy. I’m looking for possibilities.

Daniel Folta  

Yeah. Yeah, I know, I guess I don’t concern myself too much with like, what’s specific, you know, brand, like, what specific type of pain to use, I mean, obviously, there is a certain level of importance to it. But at the end of the day, if you can mix, you know, a color that that you are going for, then you’ll still get like the results, say like within within a painting. And so as long as you have a palette that is wide enough to be able to capture those things. And that’s again, just, again, like experimenting is always great. So I’m always encouraging that.

Iva Mikles  

But yeah, so yeah. And now when you’re working on Commission’s and, you know, working with clients, how do you what how did you find the first client when you were thinking like, Okay, now I’m ready to do the Commission’s?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah. So my first client was the dean of the business school and my college. And so I just, I think we I went, when I started to become, to kind of take the art seriously and everything. That’s when I began to focus on networking, and just creating good relationships, including, you know, the faculty at the college that I went to. And so, I was at some Cinco Demayo event, and the Dean of the Business School, she’s, she’s amazing. She’s like, she always is, you know, wanting to engage with their students and get to know them. And so she came down, and she sat down with me, and you talked and, you know, I told her about what I was doing with art and everything. And she was like, oh, like, you know, there’s this piece that we want to, you know, we want to be redone. And at first, I wasn’t sure how serious she was, you know, cuz there’s a lot of times when you’re talking with people, and you’re sharing that you do art, they have some crazy idea that they want to happen, but then you know that they’re not actually serious. But this time, I was like, You know what I should just ask, so I, you know, I sent her an email and made it very clear with her that I was very serious about, like, Yes, I could do this for you. And she loved the idea. And so she got back to me and we talked and guess what I did the portrait is a posthumous portrait of the founding donor of the Business School. Seton Hall, and it was unveiled at their 65th anniversary. Oh, yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Very cool. Yeah. And when you were like, doing this, like first client, basically, how did you know how much to charge, for example? Or did you ask them for a budget? Or who did you ask?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, so my, I wouldn’t say that this is the best idea. But my original plan was, in my head, I wanted to do it for free, because this was just my first one. So I wanted to get kind of my name out there, you know, to be able to say that I did a portrait and everything. And I told her that and of course, she’s the Dean of the Business School. So she was not okay with, you know, me doing a painting for free. So she insisted I charge. And so then, then, after that I looked at, you know, just what are the amount of hours that I think I’ll spend? And what am I willing to give away my time for. And so that’s how I can came to my number is very, very small. And then from there began to, you know, just slowly build up the value of my work.

Iva Mikles  

And so now, how do you find new clients? As you mentioned, networking, do you go to some special events? Or do you just talk about it on social media? Or how do they find you? Or if you find them?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, well, I definitely think the networking is very important, because you have, like, you can have so many great artists out there, especially with the world getting smaller, it’s easier to connect to really any artist that you want. But what’s really, which still hangs in the balance is that you have people want to buy from who they know. And which is kind of where that whole relationships aspect comes in. So really just focusing on the people that I know, and investing in those relationships, I think is very important. So the I am a member of the salmagundi club in New York City. And so I’ll go to some at some events there. And, you know, even connecting to people within my church, you know, and just, you know, getting to know people and letting people know who you are, I think is a really good place to start. Yeah. And then from No, because everyone knows somebody else. Right? And so it just goes from there.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So basically, you just do your best work you can and then when they are happy with it, they just recommend you further, right? Yeah, definitely. And if you think about, like, maybe memorable projects from the past, which is like stuck in your head, you mentioned one of the first client, whether something you were painting, like I don’t know, like, blue octopus on someone’s shoulder or something, which was like super memorable,

Daniel Folta  

work, move nothing crazy like that. I did do a really fun commission, though, of King David, from from the Bible. And that was really neat, because my client, she was Christian, just like I am. But she was also a history teacher. And so knowing that I had to be very, very particular and specific about, you know, I need to make this as accurate as I can. Because I wanted to honor her and honor her values and everything. And so making that peace, and, you know, the story of David in the Bible is very, very rich, and there’s so much going on in his life. And trying to capture all that into one painting was a big challenge. And what I loved is so much fun, really, really fun. So, yeah, that was probably one of my most memorable commissions for sure. So

Iva Mikles  

did you have How was what was your process in in this, you know, when you were like, obviously, you, you knew the person or character they are going to change? Right? So did you research also the types of outfits or details of the embroideries or these type of things? Or did you read more about the emotional expressions or something like that?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, yeah, I looked into as much as I could, unfortunately, is not, you know, ridiculous amount of data available about, you know, King David, since he was way, way, way back. But you know, did study previous paintings that had been done of him to kind of see how do they portray it. And then I looked in, I did look into, you know, you know, the articles of clothing and architecture and things like that. And then I also I read, I just read his story in the Bible, thoroughly. And then, after I did that, then what while I was painting, I actually would listen to the story again. I like do through my headphones, to kind of just fully just immerse me into that time and into that person. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And so how did you decide also on the on the post, for example, you know, or the composition. Did you do different types of sketches or what to kind of show through the pose?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we did a bunch of different sketches and I we started off with my client, she had a particular idea in mind. And so that was kind of the launching point for that. So we had him, you know, kind of leaning on his balcony, he’s just just kind of established his his kingdom. He’s now you know, King David, this young young man. And then he’s, he’s contemplatively kind of thinking back on his life. And there’s all these different articles, you know, nearby him that are kind of little puzzle pieces to his story. So, that was kind of what we ended up settling on. But yes, it was a bunch of sketches, and then submitting the sketches to my client for approval. And then from there, flushing out the full painting.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And then yeah, so you were doing the storytelling already at the sketch stage, like the show like, Okay, this means these, this is how this is connected. And absolutely, and then you recommend one composition and sketch, right. You want to do it? Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, that’s great. Yeah. Because it’s always like, when you put so much thought in the artwork, you are like, more proud of it. After it’s finished. And all of that. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And yeah, if you think about the future project, is there something you would love to paint in the, you know, some upcoming months or a year, or maybe some brand new would like to collaborate on like range of like products, maybe with some realistic paintings or something? Like, what is your like your dream scenario there?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah. In general, I really do. I really have enjoyed the painting scenes from the Bible. And there’s really a quite a tradition of that. When you go just go back through time, and look at all the amazing paintings that have been done. Like one of my favorites is by the painters is Solomon, like Solomon, Solomon, I forget, I forget his name, exactly. But he does this painting of Samson. And it’s just, it’s just incredible, where he’s, you know, turning and twist, and he’s being restrained by these guards. And then you have Delilah is there in the back, you know, pointing at him. And it’s just so just so powerful, it’s really cool to kind of take, you know, this, this ancient ancient story, and to make it kind of come back alive. So to be able to do more of those, it’s definitely very interesting to me. So and I can even see, like, you know, doing like those on like, a large scale, like large paintings with really complicated, you know, stories going on with you. Really fascinating. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, like complicated compositions, because there is always some super intense light or something. And there is a lot of going out there, you have to really work with the values. Yeah, no, yeah. Separate everything. So it makes sense.

Daniel Folta  

Absolutely. Really, yeah, really challenging. We get into those big paintings. There’s so much to juggle, you know, and the more you know, that, it’s almost like, the harder it can get sometimes, you know, when you it’s like, the more you know, and then your standard for yourself goes higher, because you because you know more and just keeps pushing you forward. But yeah, it would be amazing to do stuff like that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, sounds good. Yeah, like some 10 meter long painting or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I don’t get sorry.

Daniel Folta  

I don’t know if I have the capacity to do that right now. But you need to be able to juggle all those things. But definitely one day, it would be amazing to do those.

Iva Mikles  

If you think about now, when you’re, as you mentioned, like, learning all the time, is there something you are now learning at this point, like some space special, I don’t know, like, gear book you’re reading or some special tool you are like, really practicing to master?

Daniel Folta  

Yeah. So like I’d mentioned on, I’ll be painting, I’ll be doing the painting. So the live models, like model portraits, and I’m just learning a lot from that, you know, we have about three hours to capture someone’s face. And so getting quicker at that, but also just learning how to not just capture someone’s likeness, but also to capture you know, like, the bone structure, like where the bone structure isn’t where, you know, you have like more fleshy areas and what colors are you going to use to capture those different things or how you’re going to use your edges and your values to in order to capture all of that and so that’s really what has been a big focus and really fun for me as well. I’m learning a lot from it.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, yeah. So the the life practice Yeah, yeah, for sure. And what about like, advice maybe you would give to young self something you wish you knew before you started this whole journey? Hmm.

Daniel Folta  

I would say I think actually safe maybe from a from a business point of view that It really comes down to valuing the person across from you. And he thinking, thinking in those terms, I think business just become so much more easy. You know, like, if you kind of if you’re, you know, self absorbed and thinking about how about yourself all the time, when you’re going to, you know, get yourself around this, you know, business transaction or whatever, it’s just, it becomes awkward, it becomes confusing all stuff. But if you just stop and think about, like, how can I, I guess, like, love this person, you know, how can I show that this person is valued? And how can I serve this person? I think that really just speaks volumes into. Like, that’s, that’s the kind of person that I want to be, you know, and to get better at. But that’s, yeah, that’s the advice that I would give, just to really focus on other people and serve other people.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, so how you can basically help others and always kind of give back as well in the, like, client relationship, or just like, with friends as well. And like, everywhere, yeah, of

Daniel Folta  

course, and everything, but I think, you know, business. Like I remember, when I was in college, that was professors, she’s the class. I don’t know, how many of you know this, but business people are noble people. And we all kind of like, stopped and took a step back, you know, and she went on, but you know, it’s, like that idea of business people are noble people, we often think, especially in the art world, we think of business as like, Oh, you’re selling yourself away, you know, and you’re, you’re, you’re kind of, maybe you’re settling, you know, and so you’re you know, you’re looking to get money, you’re taking all of your expression, and you’re trying to convert it into dollars, or something like that. And it has this, like negative negative connotation. But really like what this business is all about, it’s like, I have this gift that I want to share with the world, because I know that this gift is a good thing. And, and if I can share that in a way that’s going to, like, love and serve and, you know, show other people that they’re valued. Then again, that’s a really, really good thing that I want to pursue, and but then how do I multiply that? Well, in order to be able to keep doing that, I’ll be needed to, like, receive something back, that allows me to do more of it. And so kind of turning, turning the way we think about business upside down in a way, the business is all about serving people, it’s not about, like, what you can receive out of it, you think about like, you know, it’s like, like, someone could invent, like a new cure for a disease. But it’s the business person that goes out and finds who needs it. And they can they figure out a way to get it to them at a price that they can afford. And and so, you know, again, that’s like, that’s, that’s a, that’s a good thing. It’s not just, you know, it’s not like the business person is just trying to, obviously, of course, there are unethical ways to go about business. And I don’t want to I don’t want to obviously don’t want to be honest, ethical about that. But yeah, I think there’s a way of going about business that’s actually very selfless. And that can be focused on serving other people.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, for sure. Because, I mean, most of us don’t make art to make money, but still, we need to make money to be able to make more art. So yeah, so and then you can make the world a better place because it’s nicer and more colorful and full of art if you are actually able to live from it because you are able to make more and you basically either inspire others or make their homes more nicer and livable and cozy. Yep, Yep, absolutely. So they are like yeah, many reasons to to make art and not to be afraid to actually put it out there that you want to sell it then you basically are like hey, making other people more happy with it or, or even brands or someone you know,

Daniel Folta  

yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think you know, Paris has the most art in the world and it’s also has the highest tourism rates. And so, you know, really speaks volumes about how valuable art really is, you know, it’s not just it’s not just mud pushed around by Harry stick on Canvas, you know? Yeah. Because Kevin likes to say yeah, because

Iva Mikles  

there’s like art everywhere either it’s traditional or it’s a pattern or a t shirt like if you walk around on the on the street you just see art everywhere in like advertising on the buses. Yeah, patterns on the clothes. I don’t know the the paintings in the galleries and everywhere. It’s just everywhere. So you just need to find your own area where you can contribute and basically make a living out of it. Yeah, definitely. For sure. Yeah. So yeah, definitely. Thanks. You so much for all of these, like super awesome insights and I’m happy that yeah, as you mentioned that you took the course and you fell in love with the year the realistic paintings and the art and now you can make a living out of it. Yeah,

Daniel Folta  

well thank you so much for taking the time to share my story and share my thoughts. I guess. I’m still got a lot to learn.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I mean, everyone they all of us right to lifelong journey, improve and learn so yeah. So um, thanks, everyone who was listening or watching and hope you guys are inspired. And if you are interested in also the level of course, as we mentioned, it’s also in the link in the description. And yeah, let me know what you think and how you guys practice and yeah, so thank you for being here again. And yeah, so see you everyone in the next episode. Bye. Bye.

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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