Q: Introduce yourself – who are you and what do you do?
A: My name is Danijela Spitzer, but I present myself as Dani Ropi. I am a photographer in love. My work is based on photography, but I take pictures in sketch form. My specialty is technology, so I apply my images in different programs and paint them digitally. I believe in the future we will stop using our hands, therefore I spend my free time exploring different programs. After I print my work, I caption it with a quote I believe represents each particular piece of art, or I paint some parts of the picture. Usually, it is mixed media, but I love to refer to myself as an art journalist. Every piece of mine has a long story behind the colors I use and the quotes I apply to each image.
Q: What is your background?
A: I was born in Croatia on the Island of Pag. At the age of six, I took my father’s suitcase, packed it with my favorite outfits and snacks, and wrote a letter to my parents saying I was unhappy and was leaving to go on a mission to find my happiness. I was not an easy child. I was raised on a small island where I felt like I was suffocating. There was no room to explore or be creative. My country was at war, I was confused, angry, and aggressive towards everyone. I spent my time on the streets. My twenties were spent living all over Europe – Parma, Italy, Bilbao, Spain, and London, UK. I studied in London but never finished college even though I attended three different schools. College never fit with me, the big hooligan inside of me always had a problem following the system. I learn better by educating myself, listening to my heart, and traveling.
Q: How do you work?
A: I work in the streets. The street is my beginning and end, filled with people, energy, and action, all of which are variables that inspire me to work.
Q: What art do you most identify with?
A: I identify most with modern and contemporary art. I like to mix old with new.
Q: What has been your favorite experience so far as an artist?
A: Leaving everything behind, coming to America, and starting from scratch in New York City. I came here three years ago, when my art did not even exist yet. In just three years I grew, created, learned, and transformed myself into a completely different person, a person I always dreamed about. That is why most of my work is dedicated to my beautiful New York City. Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever done but I didn’t give up, even though I wanted to.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: I am not inspired by one person, but rather streets, cities, traveling, breaking the rules, politics, and plain old good conversation. It depends on what mindset I am in, my art is very personal and everything comes from the emotions I am feeling during that time. That is why I call myself a photographer in love.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
A: NEVER GIVE UP.
Q: When you are not working, where can we find you?
A: I am lucky to say that work doesn’t feel like work. I go from a state of euphoria to complete stillness. I like to view this as regeneration, like a Phoenix. I can stay at home for months, enjoy myself, and delve into my emotions simply through cleaning or healing my inner circle. This gives me the energy to go back on the street and create my magic again!
Q: Have you been inspired in a new way since the shelter in place orders? Anything new? A recipe, an exercise recommendation?
A: Definitely, this time gave me an opportunity to think, feel, and create. In the middle of everything, I found myself in Tampa, Florida creating new pictures. I also saw how people can react so differently to the events happening in our country. The news of George Floyd has started a revolution. We live in the most inspiring time and I hope we can become the ones who design a new system, a new world. For an artist, that is magic.