Globe-trotter, model, and surfer Daniel George embarked on a six-month adventure in Central America after completing his undergrad in Gainesville, Florida that would redefine his path in life. That adventure is what ignited his passion for the ocean, got him speaking fluent Spanish and what inevitably led to him getting a Master’s degree in ceramics when he decided to move to California. Since then, Daniel has been committed to using creativity to put, as he says, “good vibes out in the world”. From surfing the Cali coast to modeling for national ad campaigns, running his online lifestyle brand Flying Uke, Daniel is a man fearlessly embracing his inner artist, his connection to nature, and his love of life.
1. How do you fuel your passions?
My passions are self-catalyzing. My connection with the ocean is profound. My water time inspires my time on land. It has helped me prioritize and simplify my life.
I believe that in life, as well as in art/design, the simpler the better. My 96-year-old grandfather Frank says KISS: keep it simple stupid. I am passionate about my family and that is another naturally symbiotic relationship. Becoming an uncle almost two years ago opened my eyes to a whole new connection. My nephew Charlie means the world to me.
2. Who inspires you?
I have been inspired by many artists along the way. I’ve always loved the site-specific work of the Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy. He captures the beauty of the ephemeral, and like many things I make, he uses what he finds in nature and let’s it inform his creative direction. It’s wonderfully organic. My ceramics teacher, Matt Long, inspired me a lot in my early ceramics days back at University of Florida. I love the freedom and strength of Picasso’s work. Jimi Hendrix has been a huge influence throughout my whole life since my father introduced me to his music back in the 80s. The work of Robert Rauschenberg, although I’ve discovered it more recently, inspires me in a big way. Although it was watershed in its time, I believe it has a timeless brilliance. In a broader sense I am also very inspired by folks who are at the top of their game in whatever they do, but still manage keep their head on their shoulders.
3. Favorite projects you’ve completed to date?
My thesis show 6 years ago was called “Cookies for the kids, bourbon for the grown-ups and sweet tea for everybody.” It was the first time I presented a body of relief carved ceramics whose surfaces reference the wood block and linoleum printmaking techniques. Almost two years ago I had my first solo show in LA. It was called “Sticks and Mud.”
It was comprised of surfboards I had made from recycled and green materials alongside my offering of pots that were primarily southern hospitality service sets.
“Sticks and Mud” was well received and I sold most of the work I presented. It was a humbling and inspiring indication to me that I am on the right path. More recently I collaborated with a groovy local company called “The Lost Explorer” and made a batch of service sets for their newly launched delicious sipping mezcal. I love collaborating with other folks and companies in the most high vibration way possible.
4. What can we look forward to next / where can we find your stuff? We hear you have a fragrance out too?
I have a new passion for making surfboards. I love the challenge of the new medium and form and function are important to me from ceramics. With that in mind I have a couple more art shows around LA this year that will most likely be in the “Sticks and Mud” style. My website, Flyinguke.com , has a sampling of my ceramics and features the hat and t-shirt line, Flying Uke, which I have been working on for about five years. The Flying Ukulele is a motif in my work, and for me is an auspicious image and a beacon of good vibes. This apparel uses up-cycled t-shirts that I print on, using the linoleum block stamps I make, and then I hand sew patches with my images on hats and pockets of T-shirts. My work is for sale at a few boutiques around LA. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to collaborate with the International Cosmetic brand, Jafra. They just launched their first line of Fragrances in which they chose me to be the face of for their Men’s scent, NAVIGO. What made it even sweeter was that I got to shoot with my good friend and talented photographer, Laura Doss. Navigo is by far my favorite Fragrance yet!
5. Any other secret talents we need to know about!?
I love to cook and am pretty decent in the kitchen. I was also raised hearing my dad playing guitar and singing, so I took to plinking on the strings as well. I play a little ukulele, guitar, and banjo. I guess my handle on Spanish is worth noting. It has allowed me to have some amazing adventures and connect with people I would have never known.
6. Your dream project?
Any project where I can use my creativity to pollinate the world with good vibes is a dream project. I am inspired always, but exceptionally so when I am traveling. I would like to travel more and use that inspiration to make work while out in the world. In the future I would love to continue collaborating with great companies and other artists to make the world a better place.
7. Where can we find you?
@flyinguke and @foamwrangler.