Daniel Belardinelli’s new exhibit, Vital Signs, opening September 8th and running through October 6th at One Art Space in Tribeca, draws upon a constellation of addictions, personal loss and his own struggle to communicate verbally, producing wildly dynamic images that teeter between inner angst and an outwardly directed attempt to achieve meaningful contact. His roughly rendered figures, dark palette and pithy texts reflect the artist’s determination to redirect any self-destructive urges into his work, or, as he puts it, to “draw or paint it out of me.”
Born and raised in NYC, the self-taught Belardinelli began drawing at an early age, often sketching patrons at his family’s restaurants, Savoia. At 15, he became a regular at Studio 54 and Xenon,where the young Belardinelli met legendary artists such as Antonio Lopez, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol and Christopher Makos, whose creativity inspired him.
Later, he was diagnosed with a personality disorder, resulting from his severely dysfunctional family and upbringing. The artist was also personally affected by the events of 9/11 – a last minute change of plans prevented Belardinelli from joining his uncle on the ill-fated Flight 93. Dysfunction, loss and the sounds, beat and culture of the nightclub scene resonate through Belardinelli’s work, which has been described as a punch in the face – vehement, playful, powerful, honest and strangely humorous.
Belardinelli’s works have been included in High On Life – Transcending Addiction at the American Visionary Art Museum, in the traveling exhibition titled Revelations and Reflections of American Self-Taught Artists, and in the Outsider Art Fair in New York City since 1999. Like many self-taught artists, Belardinelli works not simply for the pleasure of creating, but because creating forms a critical anchor in his life. As he has stated, “Whether it is therapy or the demons wearing off, I’ve overcome many of my prior bad habits and will continue to battle them every day for the rest of my life. And as long as I do that, I will have an endless source to paint and draw from.”