We visited the bright and spacious studio of figurative artist, Dan Whiteson, in Tottenham, London. His paintings have been exhibited nationwide in both solo and group shows. Several of his works are held in private collections across the world.  When he’s not painting, Whiteson teaches a weekly (and often packed to the gills) drawing course that continues to grow in popularity and attract eager students from all over London. Below, Dan shares his inspiration, future projects, and how a crazy party in a tiny tent in Finland turned out to be one of his favourite meals of all time.

 What has been the most memorable moment of your career, to date?
There are a lot of memorable moments to choose from but if I was pushed I think I would have to go for my first solo show of paintings in 2013. A really proud moment borne of hard work and sacrifice.

Also, the first class I held at Village Underground this year (a club in Shoreditch) was pretty incredible. After nearly five years of building my teaching business, it was a great moment to stand up in front of about 150 people in that amazing venue and realize they were there to listen to me! Mad, really, and the closest I’ve ever come/ever will get to feeling like a rock star.

Describe a time early in your career where you felt you could say, ‘I made it’.
The day I quit bar work for good was a pretty big one. I remember feeling relief, pride and a real sense of achievement.

Where has and does your inspiration come from?
My practice is people-based and people continually inspire me. I’m lucky enough to meet people from all walks of life and to live in a place of true diversity. Music is important and actually, teaching inspires my practice massively. To facilitate and observe the true power of creative expression is an honour and after every class I teach the first thing I want to do is rush to the studio.

Do you have any fun projects coming up?
Loads! I’ve got another class at Village Underground on 9th January which I’m really excited about.  I’m starting to plan another solo show of paintings and drawings for mid-way through next year too.

If you weren't being an artist, what would your Plan B career be?
Footballer… musician…astronaut…podcaster…! Realistically though, I guess I would have taken a job in design or gone full time into teaching
How do you relax in your spare time?
Playing and listening to music, podcasts, running, washing up. Man, I love washing up!

What other interest do you have?
Music is a huge part of my life; it’s my second love.  I spend several hours a day listening solidly in my studio and I still get that same rush when I discover a new artist that I did when I was a teenager.  I’m now lucky enough that I can share with my students too – I make custom playlists for every class I teach.
I’m a big runner and love the mental space I find during a jog. As much as it can be a dangerous, frustrating thing, I also love cycling around London and get through a good few miles a week. The only downside of not taking public transport is missing out on time to read a good book.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
By not having a ‘proper job’!

How would you describe your personal style?
Paint-spattered, bright, cheerful and practical
Most treasured/favourite item in your wardrobe?
My flat-cap

Name 5 essential pieces of clothing for this winter/summer?
Living in London over Winter you’ll need a good pair of hard-wearing, waterproof shoes; a luminous jacket for cycling; a warm coat; a bright, colourful jumper to pierce through the gloom and, of course, a flat-cap.
What items do you feel are worth splurging on?
As someone who is on their feet most of the day I really appreciate a decent pair of comfortable, stylish shoes.

What’s the best style advice you’ve received?

As a prematurely bald man I remember reading something along the lines of: “ensure that there are plenty of distractions on or around your face (i.e. beard, glasses, hat, earrings) to distract from your shiny, reflective dome”. A little harsh, and not the most positive message I guess, but one I fully took on board, as evidenced by my beard, glasses, hat and earring.

ho is your style icon?
I remember thinking Ghostpoet was a seriously cool dude when I saw him a few years back.
Where’s your favourite place in London/UK?
My studio.

Do you have a bucket list?
Not really, I never set myself too many targets or put pressure on myself. Obviously have goals, but I really believe that if you do things that you love and are passionate about you will naturally progress and get afforded exciting opportunities along the way.
Where are you headed this summer/winter?
Excited for a month traveling in China!


Doing what you love

A lovely cup of tea

Volcanic rock from the Galapagos

Super Mario


Buying music. I will frequently spend way more than is perhaps acceptable for rare vinyl.

I was in Finland in the arctic circle with my girlfriend. We ended up at this crazy, pretty debauched party in the woods with the locals. There were about 30 people stuffed into a tiny tepee, drunk and high and singing: out of nowhere someone brings in a huge bird that had been cooking underground all day. It was the best, most succulent and delicious thing I’ve ever had and an incredible experience all round.

 Winter Wheat by John K Samson

My acoustic guitar. My dad handed it down to me after he had played it for 30+ years. He had bought it second hand himself when he was a student. It’s got this beautiful tone and character; who knows how old it actually is.

Check out some of Dan’s work here + some snaps from his drawing classes here.