2. SpaceTourism_WelcometoMars VNDL:  Describe your work/process


My work could be described as dark but also welcoming. Magical but also terrifying. Adventurous but also numbing. Nostalgic but also pertinent to the viewer .It is representative of all the things I know and love, and even some of the things I fear and hate.

Over the years, I have integrated, in my work, all of the films, comic books, paintings, characters, music, and photographs I have found most influential to myself personally. I try to be as versatile in media and subject matter as I can be. I sculpt, I paint, I draw, I photograph, and I write, and I think that is an important quality for most illustrators to possess: The skillset and ability to appeal to not only one specific audience, but to reach out to every individual who comes across their work, while remaining consistent and recognizable in almost everything they produce. I am mostly fascinated with the sci-fi and horror genres, but do not tailor or limit my work to those genres alone.
It is hard to describe the process that goes into each illustration. I’d like to say that I do a lot of planning and preparing, but I typically don’t. I try to find a root of inspiration, whether it be music or a movie, or a thought or a memory, and I start from there. I create a visual narrative in my mind and do my best to translate it through drawing or sculpting. I allow the thoughts and illustrations to develop simultaneously and sort of impulsively.  It makes the results a little less formulaic, and a lot more imaginative for me and for the viewer.
 3. Poem_HeSits 5. LaDanseMacabreWhat have you been up to recently? (trips, projects, work?)

Over the last two years, I have attended a lot of comic book conventions, and have worked with a few other comic book artists. I recently produced a children’s story book titled, “I Love my Monster”, with illustrator, Shoulong Tian, consisting primarily of 3d illustrations.  I recently had one of my own 3d illustrations selected and displayed within the Society of Illustrator’s gallery and book for 2012-2013, exhibited in New York. 

Over the past few months, I have been working on designing a lot of band merchandise, but recently did my second editorial illustration of comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, for Inked Magazine. I then traveled to New York, and modeled for photographer, Gavin Thomas, with Inked Magazine for the third time as well. During my stay in Brooklyn, I posed for contemporary figure artist, Erik Jones, and fine artist/illustrator, Matt Buck. Working with other skilled photographers and artists is so rewarding to me. Learning from them as we work together, understanding how and why they do what they do.  It’s working with others that gives me the drive to work better independently. 6. DungeonsandDragons 7. Spot_Illustration_TheShiningFavorite Quote

“Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.” – Edgar Allen Poe
From ‘Mesmeric Revelation’ (1844) "Lebanon, My Home" DraculaAdvice to other creative’s/aspiring artists

First and foremost, rely, primarily, on yourself. Recognize the strongest abilities you have and put them towards everything you produce. Find what you like doing most, and do a lot of it. That doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to the things you know you’re good at. Explore the use of different tools, techniques and media. If you are accustomed to painting traditionally, try painting digitally, and vice versa.  Most importantly, learn to accept failure and rejection. Not everyone in the world will like what you do, and that’s alright.

The internet is your friend. Use a blog to document events and artworks in the form of a journal, and a website for a formal display of your work. They will go a long way. Holiday_FINAL_Ringling ImpendingDeathWhat are you currently listening to/reading/ watching?
I listen to a lot of film music. Specifically the work of composers, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Howard Shore.  The music they produce heavily influences my work. Watching Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas inspired most of the whimsical themes I am drawn to, and films like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, opened my mind to the world of fantasy and science fiction. Watching those films, and remembering the music within them has always excited me. If not for comic books, movies, and music, my work would be lifeless and uninspired. It’s so important to have a basis of interest to reference and work from. JPEG_HOUSTON_Thiel_FinalWhere do you see yourself in 5 years?

I love Florida and will always love Florida, but I really hope to be somewhere else in 5 years. I hope to be surrounded by friends and family, in a place that fuels my creativity. I can’t envision myself being in a dull environment. I hope to always be surrounded by skilled and interesting people.  I love to travel and would be tempted to move to France or to a big city within the United States. Who knows?  Mustard_02_Flat Mustard_Flat p8* Raven_Talon_03Who is or where does your inspiration come from? Any emerging artists to watch out for?

I am most inspired by Jean Giraud, also known as, “Moebius”. My father introduced me to his comic book series titled, “Lieutenant Mike Blueberry”, a western comic written in French. As I grew older and more intrigued by his western illustrations, I discovered so much life and variety in his collection of other works. He is, in my opinion, the epitome of the “perfect illustrator”. He never limited himself to one specific genre or medium, and had no boundaries to the subject matter he included in his work. Another illustrator I have always been greatly influenced by is Mike Mignola, the creator of “Hellboy”, and a phenomenal comic book artist.
Natasha Otrakji, my sister and a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, was the first to introduce the idea of pursuing a career in fine art and illustration to me at a young age. She has always had an admirable passion for her photography, and has always given me the push to do what I enjoy doing most. Her sense of color and composition play a huge role in the process of my work.

An emerging artist, also based in New York, is in fact my very close friend, Joana Rigol. She and I played in a punk rock band together in high school and have remained close friends since then. We always managed to feed each other’s creativity and worked so well together artistically. Her work could be described as disturbing and beautiful both at the same time. It is macabre and sophisticated and depicts images of self burden and inner turmoil through the figure drawings of emaciated women.  The darkness in her work is counterbalanced with soft colors, organic floral ink drawings, and the use of real bones and dead bees in her mixed media pieces.

SLEEPYHOLLOW_DOtrakji_Post Tribe_smallDanielle Otrakji is a illustrator and model from Miami Florida


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2 Responses

  1. rima otrakji

    She is multi talented, Danielle!You are deeply affected by her work and it lets your imagination take you to another level..I am her biggest fan and when she is creating any art piece i can’t wait for it to finish and i want to keep it because it seems like i am taking a special part or side of Danielle whose work is so intense and boiling with emotion and motion! She just touches your heart and soul..

  2. rima otrakji

    She is multi talented, Danielle!You get really affected by her work and it lets your imagination take you to another level..i am her biggest fan and when she is creating any art piece , i can’t wait for it to finish and i want to keep it because it seems like i am taking a special part of Danielle whose art is so intense and boiling with emotions and motions ! she just touches her heart and soul..


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