From a young age, Blaise Danio knew she was an artist. Now, her murals and immersive experiences draw inspiration from the many places she’s lived around the world, with color palettes that reflect the natural world and all its beauty.
Classically trained and a self-taught graphic designer, Blaise has spent years working in the arts, including in New York City, where she facilitated behind-the-scenes art installations with MOMA PS1, Sotheby’s, and The Public Theater and worked as a prop stylist for Real Simple magazine. She has studied under internationally acclaimed artist, Michele Oka Doner, and in 2018 launched Buhlaixe Studio, a multidisciplinary design studio and brand.
We spoke with Blaise to learn about the inspiration and significance of her work, a recent artist residency in Italy, and more. Here she is, in her own words.
“My greatest wish is to create an emotional experience in which you feel immersed in the space and scene. I want the viewer to lose their sense of time for a moment.”
Blaise Danio, Portrait. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Ryan Cordwell.
PhxArt: Tell us about who you are and what typically inspires your work. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Blaise Danio: I am a muralist and designer currently based in Phoenix. I grew up in Miami, but I have lived all across the world, including Europe, before settling down in the desert four years ago. There has never been a moment when I didn’t consider myself an artist. I was lucky to have my parents encourage my creative talents at a very young age. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment in my youth that inspiration struck. It seemed to be innate for me, and that drive to create beauty has persisted ever since. I find a lot of inspiration in architecture, nature, and my peers. The global design world encourages me to continue pushing my own work forward to find a space for my voice in a sea of immensely talented artists.
Blaise Danio, Amethyst, 2021. Mural. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: What are the media that you prefer to work in, and why? What are the topics or subjects that you most focus on, and how did you become interested in them?
BD: My current practice has me creating murals and textiles. I love the idea of a body of work being accessible to the public on a large scale. I’m much less interested in creating singular pieces of art for a private collection versus public art. I want the feeling that the work inspires to have as broad of a reach as possible. My current work is an homage to my travels, as well as my time in the desert. My work is minimal and distinctive for my use of color. My greatest wish is to create an emotional experience in which you feel immersed in the space and scene. I want the viewer to lose their sense of time for a moment.
PhxArt: What inspired your color palette and use of flat, abstract forms?
BD: Nature inspires my color palette. We have the most gorgeous sunsets in the Southwest. How could any color combination be more perfect than what nature has already shown us? I stick to minimalism within my work because I find that successful minimalism is actually very difficult. A visual space does not need to be overwhelming in order to be impactful.
Blaise Danio, Desert Serpent, 2021. Digital Design. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: Who are your greatest artistic influences?
BD:I’m influenced by a mix of artists, interior architects, musicians, writers, and chefs, the common thread being their ability to follow their most authentic forms of expression regardless of how the work might be perceived. My greatest inspirations are Lisa Yuskavage, Alex Proba, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Gabriel García Márquez, Francis Mallmann, and Kelly Wearstler. New ideas and new techniques can come from thinking outside of a single medium silo.
PhxArt: What’s something you’re currently working on or have recently exhibited?
BD: This past fall, I was privileged to spend time at an artist residency in Sardinia, Italy, adding a mural to a public sporting complex and creating a site-specific piece for a gorgeous flora festival in a previously abandoned plant nursery.
Blaise Danio, Bouquet, 2021. Mural. Courtesy of the artist.
PhxArt: What is some advice you’d give to aspiring artists just beginning to build their professional practice?
BD: Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you admire. Most of them remember what the beginning stages of their careers were like and are happy to offer some guidance.
Blaise Danio, Pink Doorway Blanket. Textile. Courtesy of the artist, Photo: smallerocean.
PhxArt: What can our community expect to see next from you? Anything on the horizon?
BD: While in Italy, I met a writer with whom I will be exchanging visual letters and prose with throughout the coming year to create a book dedicated to the beautiful Italian landscape that we both experienced. I’ll be attending another artist residency in Portugal this coming summer. I hope to continue to extend my creative reach globally, so expect to see more international projects featuring site-specific installations.