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Living Life In Colour with Danielle Paterson

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Danielle Paterson is a 21-year-old pansexual artist, photographer, and curator from Toronto. She is currently residing in NYC studying photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her inspiration comes from mythical creatures, drag queens and children’s fashion. You can find her on her personal Instagram, her art Instagram, and her website: daniellepaterson.com

Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/ethnicity/otherwise) and the work you make?

I started coming to New York with a few drag queens and immediately was hooked into the world of fluid expression, fashion, and nightlife. I feel like I’m learning more about my identity every day and don’t limit myself to labels. I always support queer friends, art and initiatives where possible. I make work for the open-minded and aim to broaden people’s perspectives on identity and self-expression.

How would you define your style?

Purple glitter alien, character chameleon, colour vomit, campy.

What is the thought process that goes into your wardrobe and makeup choices?

“Who do I want to be today?”

What drove you to incorporate so much color into your life and art?

In high school, I only wore black. Since moving to New York, I’ve rid pretty much all black from my wardrobe, and for some reason, it’s done wonders to my mental health. I was first introduced to colour theory in art in therapy and the principles stuck with me. Colour really can be life-changing.

What was your first “makeup moment” and what do you wear today?

My first makeup moment that made me feel my fantasy has to be years ago on one of my first trips to NYC and I got my face beat by Ruby of @sateenmusic. I wore purple lingerie and long fur to the club and I had never felt so comfortable, glamorous and free.

How has your college career at one of the best art schools in the country (Fashion Institute of Technology) impacted your creativity and progress, if it has at all?

FIT is iconic and school is really what you make of it. As I’m writing this I currently have a show up in the school's new exhibition space- I am the first student to curate a show at the school :) Something I’m really proud of. If you seek help and guidance in administrators and professors and show that you’re willing to work hard, they will help you. College has helped me keep consistent and most importantly experiment. It’s also been a huge resource to me for learning about all the random concepts that pop into my head and all the references I think about.

What do you hope to achieve with your portraits and photo-series?

I make my portraits for the depressed 16-year-olds who are told they are too weird to succeed and who think they’ll never get past their current situation.

When capturing the perfect picture, what do you essentially look for?

The full fantasy moment. The drama. The glamour.

How has New York City and Toronto nightlife inspire you and your work, if it does at all?

Nightlife is where people come to life! Where you leave behind your daytime problems and make the most of your night. I started going out in Toronto in high school but really started to express myself in nightlife when I started coming to New York.

What is next for you? Do you have any hopes, dreams, plans you are excited about?

I have so many plans, but I am not limited to my current visions of my future. If nothing that I have planned works out, it’s going to because something better is coming instead.