Humans tend to take their habits for granted. Everything seems self-evident until the perspective shifts. It forces us to reflect on the way we are: humans are not all sunshine and rainbows, as the saying goes. We also have a darker side that we prefer to be swept under the rug.
Barbara Daniels has a calling to reveal these dark things that people do. She shifts the perspective by swapping roles of humans and animals, which in turn raises our awareness of how we behave with other animals, which is brutal and unethical most of the time. There's much room to grow for our species. Her illustrations are a sobering reminder that our society is far from perfect. Though we tend to admire the progress of our own species, we tend to forget that we did it at the price of others.
Barbara shared about her "Dominion over Man" with Bored Panda: "It was an unexpected surprise when this art came into my life. The idea of exploring the relationships between humans and animals first came to me while I was eating chicken wings on holiday in Strasbourg, France. I sketched what the situation might look like if the roles were reversed. The idea resonated with me from that moment on and I began to see the world in a new light. I started to focus on the role reversal concept after moving to Berlin in 2013."
"I learned so much from all the research I did for the artwork that I began to question my own lifestyle, and this led to my decision to become vegetarian. I still learn a lot about the world from each picture I create, and I've received a lot of positive feedback from many people inspired by my work. That really motivates me to continue with the 'Dominion over Man' series."
Barbara tells us what inspired her to create the comics: "The idea of exploring the relationships between humans and animals first came to me while I was eating chicken wings on holidays in Strasbourg, France. I sketched what the situation might look like if the roles were reversed. The idea resonated with me from that moment on and I began to see the world in a new light. I found endless sources of inspiration all around me in everyday life.
The artist also told us what the main goal of the illustrations is: "The goal of my art is to learn about our world by holding a mirror up to humanity and imagining life from the perspective of the many species dominated by the human race. It’s important to me to reverse each situation as accurately as possible, so I need to do a lot of research before beginning each piece. I learn so much from my research, and I receive a lot of feedback from people who believe that my work is spreading awareness."
Barbara tells us more about how she got into art: "I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a small village, art was a much-needed escape from everyday life with six brothers. Following my passion, I studied fine art at GMIT Ireland."
The artist mentioned what the most difficult part of these illustrations is: "The research I do for my work can be difficult, because it’s often very depressing. I tackle some pretty dark topics, and sometimes it affects my mood. Another difficult part of my work is the process itself. It takes about a month to complete each piece, and my chosen medium of pen and ink can be pretty unforgiving. Once that ink hits the watercolour paper, there’s no going back! Mistakes can’t be erased or covered up."
Barbara tells us more about what topics she covers and tells us more about her style: "I cover all topics relating to animals in all aspects of modern life. Some of the topics are gruesome, while others are a bit more lighthearted. My style is a mix between realism and caricature, and I like to focus on details. I started to focus on the role reversal concept after moving to Berlin in 2013. I still have a long list of ideas for new pictures, so I will keep going with my 'Dominion over Man' series for some time to come."
The artist shares what inspired her to keep creating: "I really enjoy creating my own parallel universe with this art, and I still learn so much about our world from each picture I create. That alone would be enough to keep me going, but I also get motivation from the positive feedback I receive from people who are inspired by my work."
Barbara gives some advice for artists or people who want to pursue art: "Don’t be afraid to tackle difficult and uncomfortable topics in your art. When I began working on this series in 2013, I received a lot of negative feedback from friends and family who couldn’t understand why I was painting such weird pictures. Although I sometimes had my own doubts, I stayed true to my vision for four years before I started getting positive feedback. Looking back, I’m happy that I didn’t give up on this idea just to please others."
The artist tells us more about herself, her life, and her journey: "I grew up in a small village in County Galway, Ireland. After graduating with a fine art degree from GMIT Ireland in 2005, I lived in Southern California for almost eight years before spontaneously moving to Berlin, Germany in 2013."
"The goal of my art is not to preach about what’s right or wrong. Because of the topics in my work, some people assume that I’m trying to shove a political agenda down their throats, but really I’m just an artist exploring an idea and learning more about the world every day. I actually ate meat for most of my life, but as a result of my research for this art series, I began to question my own lifestyle and became vegetarian."