Local Painter’s Work Goes Viral

By Tiffany Brown

Michelle Danielle Thomas, 23, better known as Dani Michelle, is a visual artist specializing in painting and dabbling in drawing, designing and photography.

Growing up between Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County, Md., art has always been a part of her life. She has a talented father who is both an artist and computer whiz. He taught her many techniques that she still practices today.

Unfortunately, her parents split when she was young. This was a devastating moment for her and she turned her back on art for a while. It reminded her too much of her father.

She began taking art classes in school and using art as a positive outlet for her.

Thomas finds much inspiration in her surroundings, music and even other artist. She finds inspiration in almost anything such as an apple sitting on a table, she said.

“I can look at an apple and a million thoughts will run through my head, which is a gift and a curse,” she said.

She mentioned how some of her thoughts get “lost in translation” while trying to process an overload of ideas at once

To begin Thomas’s creative process, she immediately sketches on a canvas. This helps her remember ideas. She begins painting, choosing colors as she goes. If she makes a mistake or doesn’t like her color choices, she simply goes over it the previous color with a new choice. “The beauty of working with acrylic paint,” she said.

Thomas thinks of herself as a creative artist with a great eye for design. She takes pride in keeping her lines and details neat and blending colors as clean as possible. She enjoys being unpredictable.

“I’m constantly painting different things just so when people think they have my style figured out, I wow them with something new.”

She is an artist that not only expresses herself through every stroke of a paint brush, she also creates art that her peers will understand.

Thomas painted a picture of a young African American woman wearing a blue crop top rolling a blunt. (A blunt is broken down marijuana put into a Backwood or cigarillo and then licked to stay closed. It is then lit and smoked.) This painting went viral on social media. It was retweeted and reposted thousands of times on Twitter and Instagram.

She was surprised.

“I thought it was going to be just like any other work I posted. A couple of retweets and favorites. But I posted it and my phone would not stop going off. It got to the point where I had to turn my notifications off just so I could get some sleep.”

Everyone is talking about Thomas’s work. Celebrities K. Michelle, K Camp, Yung Berg and Swae Lee have all responded positively to her. Some of them have requested her work – every artist’s dream.

Thomas has posted many photos since her overnight social media fame and she has been highly praised. She continues to perfect her craft and hopes to earn a spot in some of the world’s most recognized art museums.

To check out her work visit www.danimichelleart.com.

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