Nauti Sailor Daniel Baranowski recently opened a show in the Blue Mountains, filled with works inspired by landscape. We caught up with him to get the down low on his inspiration, process and passions.

Daniel Baranovski, painter and photographer, working on his works for ‘Snap Frozen & Still’ in his studio at Nauti Studios, Blue Mountains.

Daniel Baranovski, painter and photographer, working on his works for ‘Snap Frozen & Still’ in his studio at Nauti Studios, Blue Mountains.


What’s it like to live in the Blue Mountains where there are a lot of artists and creative people? 

I was born here, went to school here, in Springwood. The mountains attract a lot of people which is really cool. If you’re born and bred here stuff just filters in. But, it’s a bit of a challenge to not do a bit of a pastiche – it doesn’t float my boat.

How long have you been an artist?

That’s a really good question. Since my exhibition! Hahaha. 

“I want to be successful, not famous.”

Okay, what about this? How long have you been ‘artistic’? 

Well, that’s been an always thing for me. I’ve always been creative in that sense. Always. Always.

Tell me about your first exhibition, ‘Snap Frozen & Still’ that’s coming up.

This is the first time I’ve painted since high school. There will be paintings, ink drawings and pastel drawings. I have what I call my ‘Socratic sense of humour’ which is why I called the exhibition what I did. It’s largely inspired by a two week trip to Iceland where I took photos because essentially you can fall over there and still take a good photo. I also brought a tiny sketch book and did some 15 minute rapid fire drawings outside in the freezing cold trying to hold a pencil with a big glove on. I do and I teach Tai Chi, and am in to the whole Zen side of things in terms of immediate response to an experience, that is, the Zen idea of capturing a fleeting moment. Also, when I was there the colours were very minimal and that is reflected in my work.

I tried to stalk you on social media but you are hard to find. Why’s that?

Oh good. My plan is working. Haha. I agree with the singer Sia who famously said something like “I want to be successful, not famous.” And, I think that fame is the byproduct of talent.

“Yes, there is a lot of movement…
but it’s still a still!”

How did you find out about Nauti Studios?

I think I saw a post randomly pop up at around the same time a friend also mentioned it. I’ve been here around 18 months or so sharing a studio with another artist who is a friend of mine. I like it here because I can do certain stuff at home but it is still limited by space.

I actually heard you paint before I saw your work. I am in the studio under yours and your brush strokes sounded as if there was a lot of movement in your paintings. It’s amazing to finally see your work and realise that what I heard is true!

Yes, there is a lot of movement. That’s my thing I guess, but it’s still a still!

Who inspires your work?

So many artists to choose from, but always Brett Whiteley and Katsushika Hokusai. Whiteley’s lines and his drawings are phenomenal. The freedom that he paints and draws with – his work is extraordinary from my point of view. And then Hokusai has the whole Japanese woodcut thing. He has different ways of doing a similar kind of thing.

Up close with Daniel Baranowski and his palette in his studio.

Up close with Daniel Baranowski and his palette in his studio.


And finally, which nautical creature do you resonate with the most?

Scylla and Charybdis.

(Editor’s note: These are monsters in Greek mythology, mentioned in, among other texts, The Odyssey. Scylla is a six headed beast and Charybdis is a whirlpool. The grim pair were said to wreak havoc for ships sailing through the Strait of Messina, which is located between Italy and Sicily, where they flanked either side. When the ships moved to one side to avoid one, they would inevitably be too close to the other one. A no-win situation which is where phrases like ‘between a rock and hard place’ and ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea’ derive from.)

They are the flip sides where one or the other will always get you. No matter what, you’re going to get tagged by something, but that’s not always bad.

‘Snap Frozen & Still: An attempt to capture the fragile eternity of the Void’
Dan’s first exhibition and is on now, until the 14th April at Braemar Gallery
104 Macquarie Road in Springwood, Blue Mountains
(Ppen Thursday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm)