In Conversation with Daniel Borg, Maltese artist based in Berlin

Daniel Borg is one of the up and coming artists that we have our eyes on. In this conversation, we get to know Daniel, his artistic practice and his upcoming projects, including an exhibition at The Mill in spring of this year.

Your practice involves music and painting. How did you get to the current point? What has been your artistic journey so far?

At a very young age I was exposed to a lot of paintings and music. I remember going to my grandmother’s house, which was full of my uncle’s paintings – Carm Borg. I used to stare at them for a real long time and was fascinated by the fact that a picture can be made of strokes of paint. At home music was always part of the environment since my father is a big music fan. He also occasionally drew something for his amusement or for me to color in and then he would point out areas of correction. In my early teens I lost interest in drawing. I remember noticing that I wasn’t drawing anymore. Back then I reasoned that once a drawing is finished all one could do was look at it. Redrawing the same thing did not give the same feeling like drawing something the first time round. For this reason I never chose art as a subject at school. I was only using my skills to trade with the bullies at school by drawing naughty pictures in exchange for protection.

Featured artwork by Daniel Borg: ‘Door’, oil on canvas.

At the age of 15 I started playing guitar and kept doing music till this day. I was in a lot of different bands and projects. Nowadays I make music alone. In retrospect, I guess music also influenced me visually as music supplies you with an infinite stream of iconic images that will never leave your consciousness. After all, what better lesson in artistic composition is there than looking at album covers? In the last few years I was looking to break the habit of grabbing my guitar and computer and making music. Many reasons led to this, mainly the fact that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to because instead of listening to a song, my brain would start going into tiny technical details rather than the emotion of a song. I was spoiling it for myself. So last May I decided to take a step back from music for a year and see what happens and I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in my life. I started posting my drawings and paintings on social media, for the sake of not letting my music Instagram die out. The positive feedback was overwhelming. At first I thought it was due to the fact that most of my friends didn’t know that I could draw, so they were surprised but as I kept doing it, the audience seemed to grow with every post.

Featured artwork by Daniel Borg: ‘Lina’, oil on canvas.

Can you tell us about a body of work that you are particularly fond of? 

I think I have a varied range of tastes, which may not be such a healthy thing for a creator. I find that too many options tend to work against you. Sometimes I have to convince myself that I don’t like something to avoid certain paths and to try to control what influences my work. I like almost all the classic old masters and the classic contemporary artists including sculptors, illustrators etc. I also like a lot of not so well known artists, which for some reason or another history decided to leave behind. One thing that puts me off is when a painter or a musician incorporates tons of academic technique in their work.

Where do you get most of your inspiration and ideas from?

As one can see from my background I get a lot of inspiration from other art forms. Apart from music I am also very much inspired by movies. My constant number one rule when it comes to painting is the intensification of life. I often ask myself the question “how can I get the maximum emotion on these four corners that make up the rectangle in front of me?” I choose to paint an idea when I fall in love with it enough to keep me interested but not too much to fixate on because otherwise I would fall into the trap of over-thinking. I also try to paint subjects that I’m not sure how to paint before I actually start painting.

Featured artwork by Daniel Borg: ‘Alex’, oil on canvas.

Are you working on or planning anything exciting that you can share?

At the moment I am working on a body of work for my first solo exhibition that is going to be held at The Mill starting on Saturday 15 May and running until Monday 7th June as part of the SPRING program by Gabriel Caruana Foundation.

Follow Daniel on ARTZ ID to stay updated with his latest work and projects. More information about his upcoming exhibition at the Mill can be found here.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *