Atlas Employee Spotlight: An Artist Within

Posted by Lucy Collins on Aug 23, 2010 9:22:57 AM

Thunderhead III by Hugh Daly, acrylic on canvas

Hugh Daly, Operations Manager at Atlas, leads a double life. By day he manages, organizes and basically ensures that Atlas Advertising doesn't spontaneously combust. Nights and weekends, he creates color ideas from everyday life. And he is quite successful at it.

I took a few minutes to pick the brain of our resident painter and here is what I found out:

How long have you been painting?
I come from a creative family – both of my parents are artists. I’ve been drawing since I was in elementary school but got serious about painting after college.

Where do you get inspiration from?
I find color ideas in everyday life and draw themes from my travels and from nature mainly. Often times everyday events, like sitting on my patio sipping coffee will inspire a concept for a painting.
Also, I stretch my own canvases. I feel like the process binds me to the painting before I even start the work. I know the canvas will be stretched exactly how I like it – I am my pickiest client!

Where is your work currently being displayed?
I currently show at the Sandra Phillips Gallery in Denver and Art & Soul Gallery in Boulder. My studio is at my home, so I guess you could say that would be my third gallery.

Do you listen to music while you paint?
I typically listen to jazz or classical when I paint, sometimes even certain techno – the music relaxes me but also keeps my brush moving energetically. It is interesting to see how the different types of music affect my work.

Do you have a local favorite artist?
There are a couple of local artists I draw inspiration from – Craig Marshall Smith and Amy Metier.

Do you participate in First Friday?
Not typically – although it is a great opportunity to catch galleries all open after hours together, and to do some networking, it is conversely a difficult time to truly ‘see’ the art with so many people milling about. I prefer to slip into a gallery on a quiet afternoon and be the only one there. I feel like I absorb so much more.

I imagine most painters as being barefoot while they work, is this true for you?
Nope, I wear something on my feet. My basement studio has some pretty chilly cement floors!

How do you balance your double life?
I like having my full time job at Atlas and working on my paintings on evenings and weekends. I find it is a good balance for me between left brain and right, between working for someone and working for myself. It takes the pressure off of having to create in order to sell, and allows me to be true to myself with respect to my work. Being around all of the creativity here at Atlas is also a great part of the equation!

To see more of Hugh's work you can visit his website at

Topics: Life at Atlas

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