By Amy Jackson

It is February of 2018 and I’m interviewing artist Daniel Arite at a local favorite for meetings, music and gatherings of all kinds – Flatrock Coffee, Tea, and More. It has been 17 years since I first met him and his wife, Thandiwe Shiphrah, an accomplished artist in her own right. For more about Thandiwe, se her Neighborhood Profile, next. In 2000, the couple moved from New Mexico to Nashville and they both have been active participants in the arts community ever since. Recently, I caught up with Daniel when I took part in “Impressions: A Celebration of Woodbine,” a public art project he led that focuses on the neighborhood they have lived in since 2005. Opening to Inspiration Daniel starting sketching and drawing in his 20s and taught himself to paint by reading books, studying the work of artists he admires, and carefully observing the world around him. In New Mexico, where he grew up, he often attended musical events and began dabbling in portraiture while waiting around for concerts to start. Sometimes while the music was being performed, he would make loose sketches of people he found fascinating, blending in the ambiance of the venue and letting the energy of sound guide his hands. Later he would add color to the sketches and incorporate images from his mind’s eye. This fascination with people and environments continues to spark his imagination and drive his approach to drawing, painting, and mixed media. The possibility of finding new avenues of expression is what most excites Daniel about artmaking. That excitement is clearly evident when he talks about Another Doorway in Paradise, an ongoing series of paintings he began while on a retreat in Barcelona that was inspired by the people and architecture he photographed there. each other on this journey of life.”