Growing up in Pensacola, Dan Hamilton’s life has been deeply influenced by his family, his hometown, and the creative process of illustration. With a career spanning three decades, Hamilton has worked with industry giants such as Disney, Sony, Netflix, and even the U.S. military. His extensive travels and life experiences have shaped his unique approach to art and storytelling.
A Pensacola native, Hamilton has always been connected to the world of art. His mother, a painter and artist, was his earliest inspiration. rough countless hours spent drawing together, she taught him the foundations of observation and creativity that have informed his artistic process ever since. Hamilton’s passion for art led him to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration at the prestigious Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. During his time at Ringling, he was challenged and refined as an artist. He also took several art courses at Pensacola State College, where he met Sue Buck, a highly influential instructor in his life.
Throughout his illustrious career, Hamilton has had many highlights. One such experience was being part of a top-secret military project, where he contributed to the design of a “real world” Iron Man suit. Another standout moment was working on the Reese Witherspoon film, Legally Blonde, where he was hired to create courtroom sketches and even made a cameo appearance in the movie as the courtroom sketch artist.
Hamilton’s work on viral marketing campaigns for movies like Batman: The Dark Night and Tron: Legacy also stands out. He and his team collaborated closely with director Christopher Nolan to create an online storyline introducing Heath Ledger’s Joker character. Similarly, he worked on an interesting project with musician Trent Reznor for the release of his concept album “Year Zero,” which featured art as a form of resistance against an overreaching government.
In his fine artwork, Hamilton’s choice of materials defines his style. He favors acrylic paint markers, which give his art a flat, screen-printed look reminiscent of Japanese woodcuts that inspired many impressionists. is technique bridges the gap between illustration and painting, and Hamilton particularly enjoys conceptual renderings. Having worked on a few theme park rides and experiences, he finds it rewarding to know that his ideas will bring smiles to the faces of people waiting in line.
Having spent years working in the film industry, Hamilton is keenly aware of the enormous amount of effort that goes into creating a movie. He emphasizes that for every minute of screen time, there are countless hours of work, from the writing and production process to the contributions of art departments, prop makers, costumers, camera crews, and many others.
Growing up around aviation, with a father who was a Marine chopper pilot and a grandfather who also trained at NAS Pensacola, Hamilton has always been fascinated with flight. Airplanes and the Blue Angels were common subjects in his childhood art, and his love for his hometown is evident in his work and perspective on life.
Pensacola holds a special place in Hamilton’s heart, and he believes it is one of the best-kept secrets in the country. With a rich history, the city offers a unique blend of size and charm. He sees a bright future for Pensacola and is committed to being part of that future.
In his free time, Hamilton works on various Pensacola-based projects, such as special maps, “Visit Pensacola” posters with humorous local references, and an illustrated history book about the town. For him, this is a way of giving back to the community that has played such an integral role in shaping his life and career.
The life and career of Dan Hamilton serve as an inspiring example of how passion and profession make for a wonderful composition. You can follow Dan on Instagram @pizzashoe_draws or visit his website at danhamiltonart.com.
THE ART OF THE STORYBOARD:
A storyboard is a panel or panels on which a sequence of sketches depict the significant changes of action and scene in a planned film, as for a movie, television show, or advertisement.
The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND THE ARTS
An artist’s perspective on technology, the rise of A.I., and its affect on the artworld in general
How has technology affected your work?
Has it hurt or helped it?
Technology has definitely aided my work! Especially in terms of collecting reference and finding inspiration. I still draw and paint traditionally but, the vast majority of what I do is now done on the computer. It’s far easier to make corrections and revisions working digitally that way!
What are your thoughts on Artificial Intelligence-generated art?
AI is a tricky one!! At this point, it’s only been around for about half a year! But already, it’s made a huge impact. Some of it is really impressive and some of it lacks personality and warmth. One thing for sure is, it’s never going away and will only improve with time. So, like every new tool, you’ve got to find a way to use it. I can foresee using is as my base for 50% an illustration, and then I take “it from there!” is could be a huge time saver and a real game changer.