Daniel Abadie has been both my barber and my friend for many years, during which time I have come to admire his many, varied artistic skills and talents.
Only recently, however, did I discover how extraordinarily well he paints. An upcoming exhibition at a local winery will allow you too, to know his talent as a painter.
I asked Daniel to tell me something of early life. “I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961. Early on I started showing an interest in the arts: music, drawing, painting, writing, mostly through being exposed to them at school,” he said. “Before I completed primary school, I was asked to paint a mural in the school to honour Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. It was intended only for the holidays, but the principal was so pleased that it was kept there for years. It may even still be there.”
About his early goals and ambitions, Daniel said, “I wanted to study the arts and I loved music and wanted to study piano, but because my parents held strict religious beliefs, I wasn’t allowed to participate in any extra curricular activities, or studies. I did not return to any involvement with the arts till I was an adult.”
Art had always been part of his life as it provided an escape from life’s “crazy realities,” he said.
“I grew up in an Argentina plagued by political unrest and military domination. During my high school years, I participated in a nation-wide art competition and had the honour to receive first, second and third prizes for my submissions. My early work was very different from what I do now. All the art I created in Argentina has sadly been lost.”
After high school, he said, his family did not permit him to continue any kind of post secondary studies, so he was made to find a sensible day job. “I became tired of office life very quickly. It was boring and there was nothing artistic about it. Eventually I just quit.”
I was curious as to how he became a hair stylist.
He told me, “A good friend understood my problem and introduced me to barbering, and within a year, I had my own small shop in Buenos Aries. The business became very successful and I expanded my services to include women’s hair styling as well. I loved it because at last I had a chance to express myself artistically. I always considered hair my medium. Political unrest and the growing instability of life in Argentina prompted me to leave my homeland and try my luck making a life in a new country.”
At the age of 25, Daniel arrived in Canada, where he was able to build a successful career as a hair stylist, both in St. Catharines and internationally. His work as a hair stylist led him to become “a platform artist,” which took him to the four corners of the world and exposed him to all types of artistry, he said. “During this time, I was able to resume university studies and to fulfill my performing interests as a member of the Opera Ontario Company.”
Daniel also had experience as an actor. “Five years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a year as a performing member of The Caravan Stage Company, an experimental theatre company that has performed worldwide for more than 40 years. This company of over 100 performing artists travelled the east coast of North America from port to port, on board a 100-foot Thames-style sailing barge. In the evenings, the barge was transformed into a stage for performances while the audience enjoyed a circus-inspired show from seats on the shore.”
Daniel went back to university to study music, while still continuing vocal studies. Three years ago, plans were put on hold because of health issues, keeping him at home for long periods of time. This, however, allowed him to go back to the interest of his youth, painting, as there was nothing else to do. “I sat at home in front of empty canvases and painted whatever made me happy. I soon became very colour-driven in my art, as colour continued to bring happiness.”
There is to be an exhibition of Daniel’s art in Niagara-on-the-Lake at The Hare Wine Co., and he spoke with great happiness about the collection to be shown locally.
“I continue to be consumed with my interest and love of painting. My current work is the result of my passion for a style known as pointillism, a technique in which small, distinct dots of colour are applied to a canvas to form an image. The 20 pieces in this new exhibition are the result of my complete involvement with pointillism. My love of colour and joy for life are apparent as you experience my paintings.”
The Art of Daniel Abadie is at the winery on 769 Niagara Stone Rd., Aug. 23, 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is an opportunity to meet the artist each day from 4 to 6 p.m.