Daniel Leighton is a prolific Los Angeles-based contemporary artist who is a pioneer in iPad painting. His visceral, heavily archetypal works emanate from resurrected and persistent visions.
Daniel is an artist who stands for the importance of feelings—both emotional and physical. Being faced with his mortality since childhood because of illness, the workings of his physical and emotional states have become revered roadmaps as he creates emotional landscapes. His simple lines and brilliant colors capture complicated states of the human psyche and allow identification and acceptance of varied emotions.
Daniel’s art combines his four primary areas of study: art, technology, film and the human condition. He uses cutting edge technology to create art that delves into the deepest parts of the human psyche.
Art critic Shana Nys Dambrot calls Daniel’s paintings “luminous” with “a quality of rawness and intensity that is both visual and emotional.”.
With certain paintings, Daniel adds Augmented Reality (AR). AR is a technology that combines Daniel’s backgrounds in filmmaking and computer programming with his paintings. Using the Daniel Leighton Art + AR app (which Daniel created in late 2013/early 2014), viewers can experience additional dimensions of Daniel’s AR-enhanced paintings. As Shana Nys Dambrot writes, Daniel’s app, “turns your device into a viewing portal into what it is tempting to describe as a parallel universe.”
Daniel began programming on an Apple II plus in 1981 at the age of 11 and felt an immediate affinity for what was then considered new technology. In 1994, he graduated Cum Laude from UC Berkeley with a BA in filmmaking and was awarded the prestigious Regents and Chancellors Scholarship. Immediately upon graduating, Daniel was hired by Internet startup CNET and reported directly to CEO Halsey Minor. In the mid-nineties he created award-winning Web sites for Intel, Sun Microsystems, Women in Technology International and Paramount Pictures. Daniel is an award-winning filmmaker whose films have been shown at the UC Theater in Berkeley and the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
In 2013, Daniel was invited to speak at the Apple Store in Santa Monica, where he displayed his iPad paintings and demoed his Augmented Reality app. In 2015, he was invited back and gave a presentation as part of Apple’s “Start Something New” campaign, which features artwork created with Apple products.
Daniel’s Augmented Reality work was selected by Timothy Potts, Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, for the POP ÜBER ALLES Show at the L.A. Art Association/Gallery 825 in 2013 and was featured by Mat Gleason in the Coagula Curatorial Video Lounge at Art Basel in Miami in 2014.
Daniel’s first solo show, Opening Up was held in 2013 at WAAS Gallery in Dallas. In March of 2015 Daniel had another solo show, Threshold, at the LA Center for Digital Art which was the result of him winning first place in an international competition which nearly 1,000 artists had entered. His most recent solo show, Permission To Enter, was held on October 17, 2015 at the L.A. Art Association/Gallery 825 in Los Angeles.
In April, 2017, Daniel’s work will be featured at the M.A.R.S. (Music and Art ReSound) Festival in Downtown, Los Angeles and in April, 2018, Daniel’s work will be featured at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) as part of 3-person group show.
Daniel Leighton is a featured blogger for The Huffington Post.
I paint portraits of emotions that are often felt but rarely acknowledged. I was born with a chronic illness and have been through countless invasive procedures, hospitalizations and surgeries. These experiences emphasized the importance of expressing my internal landscapes.
I combine my four primary areas of study: art, technology, film and the human condition. I synthesize mediums old and new. My work is raw and emotional mixed with high tech. I make my paintings come to life with augmented reality. I’ve created an app (available for free on iTunes) that interacts with his paintings and incorporates film, sound, and interactivity.