Born 1960 and grew-up in rural Illinois; moved to WI in 2000. 1980-2000 lived in Chicago pursuing undergrad/grad-school at School of Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, MFA); 2000 moved to Wisconsin to be closer to the landscape. I am currently academic-staff at UW-Platteville where I have been teaching since 2012 in the art-program.

Studying at SAIC allowed me an intimate viewing of great paintings on a daily basis; post grad-school I felt the absence of that visual engagement; moved to rural-Wisconsin in 2000.

My life has been a complex of experiences, including painting & drawing, classical-guitar, and the usual mixture of economic duties in the kitchen/home/office to sustain. I have regular interest in much of the arts, including literature, poetry, music and theater, and in the past decade have become very interested in the confluences of art, science, and philosophy.

From early 2000 I was involved in a musical-group BoxElder/Dear-August and spent nearly 10 years without making art. The band produced 3 CDs and played over 200+ shows in a 10yr period.

Following a devastating-fire in 2003, I was constantly moving and during this time lived in a host of locations in Dane and Iowa counties; I eventually pursued opportunities in Scottsdale and then San Diego, and then settled in Grant County.

Artist Statement

My visual interests are never singular. As a studio artist in the 2-dimensional, my resources include the landscape, abstraction, photography, and recently the inclusion of color and line using familiar materials in the studio: tape, paper, colored-paper, cut-paper, sketchbook-paper, magazine, newspaper, and more.

The paintings/drawings currently include process-vocabulary from concepts of art/design, often referred to as "formalist" in nature; however, my inquiry does not seek conclusions or clarity in direction or production. The paintings and drawings are personal sketchbooks in that they provide a means for me to inventory ongoing interests in my own process, such as how do lines, edges, inside/outside, space, color, and texture get there? How do they make their way from somewhere else (a tube, a table, a file) and onto the canvas? I began to realize that the colored-paper and even the tape offered a way to bring "marks" to the canvas; they were no longer just part of the prep but an ingredient in composition. I have since recognized a utility in the tape/paper by providing a welcome distraction from the "history" of oil-painting that looms over many of my ilk. And that Romantic admission is also my sole rationale for the neon-color, colors which are uncompromising in their singularity/individuality, offering no assistance in form, since they adhere to nothing but themselves. I often find myself working around them, pretending they're not even there. It's as if there is another voice in the conversation, but a voice without ears to listen---I find this thrilling! and the tension keeps me engaged.

Daniel O'Brien, Untitled, 2020,
oil, acrylic, paper, newspaper, and tape on canvas, 8x10 in. ea., Collection of the artist