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HomeArtArtist Profile: AITP Best in Show Winner, Danny O'Driscoll

Artist Profile: AITP Best in Show Winner, Danny O’Driscoll

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For a half-century, artist Danny O’Driscoll has graced the arts community worldwide with beautiful, lifelike portraits of nature’s most magnificent creatures. And now, O’Driscoll has won the coveted Best of Show honor at the Hernando County Fine Arts Council’s Art in the Park event, and for the second time
The Hernando County Fine Arts Council presented Art in the Park on March 9 and 10, an annual celebration of fine art, craftsmanship, and community that creates a unique opportunity and tradition for artists, collectors and patrons.

“I have won several times at AITP, but this is my second time winning Best of Show,” he said. “I also won in 2020, just before COVID. Over the last several years, I also won the People’s Choice Award; that is truly an honor for the people.”

A self-taught master craftsman specializing in wildlife acrylic paintings, this South Carolina artist has successfully combined his love of the outdoors with a passion for painting and photography. As an illustrator for the Riverbanks Zoo in Charleston and the Houston Zoo in Texas, he drew wildlife of every description for a decade. He won Artist of the Year awards from North and South Carolina Wildlife Federations, was a featured artist at the Southern Wildlife Festival in Alabama, and was featured in an Artist’s Magazine cover story and the book “Wildlife Painting—Step by Step.”

On the occasion of Art in the Park, O’Driscoll presented some of his signature nature-inspired masterworks.

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“I had several new pieces that I thought were my best works, and I think the judges agreed,” he said. “My love of the coastal wildlife inspired my new work.”

From egrets to owls, hawks to songbirds, eagles to wolves, and dogs to giraffes, O’Driscoll captures the enthusiasm and nobility of the world’s most radiant creatures. And these lovely works have formed the basis and foundation of a longstanding artistic career.

“For over 50 years, I have been a professional artist, and 40 of those years have been self-employed,” he said. “This is remarkable since I have never had any formal art lessons! And as long as the Lord lets me, I will continue showing my art at festivals nationwide.”

And while still going strong at 72, O’Driscoll is selective about which shows he attends. Yet, in his mind, Art in the Park is a must-attend event.

“This show encompasses many styles, from the traditional to the contemporary, all across the board,” he said. “Many different crafts are also featured. One drawing factor is the Children’s Art Exhibit, which brings out the youth who can visit with a practicing artist professionally. At 72, I am slowing down the shows I attend. This is my first show since last November. I also do commissions for people, birds, animals and dog portraits.”

Cheryl Hill, Art in the Park exhibitor coordinator, takes great pride in the accomplishments of this longtime AITP participant. “Danny has been the People’s Choice winner for the last two years,” Hill said. “And this year, he was the top choice for the judges as well.”

Allisa Babor, chair of HCFAC, agrees. “Each year, we are more and more impressed with the talent at Art in the Park. This year, the judges had a tough job with 114 artists to choose from, but Danny’s artwork was voted Best in Show,” said Babor. “Danny’s pieces are meticulously done—always realistic and never missing a single detail. The wildlife found in his paintings is incredibly realistic, so much so that they look like photographs at first glance. His acrylic paintings are a beautiful addition to any space and will leave a memory for the viewer.” “Congratulations, Danny, for this well-deserved win!” said Babor.

O’Driscoll’s $1,250 Best of Show honor is the latest in a long line of artistic accolades awarded to this seasoned artist. “In addition to the Best of Shows at Brooksville, I won Best of Show in Winter Haven for 2021,” he said. “Last year, I also won awards like the Award of Distinction at Fernandina Beach.”

O’Driscoll’s main future goal is to continue and enhance the creation of his art. “I will be attending shows in South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida in the coming months,” he said. “This is my passion as well as my life.”

See the work of Danny O’Driscoll at https://www.dannyodriscoll.com/index.html.

“The Rookery” [Photo courtesy of Danny O’Driscoll]
"Watchful Eye" Coopers Hawk [Photo courtesy of Danny O'Driscoll]
“Watchful Eye” Coopers Hawk [Photo courtesy of Danny O’Driscoll]
"Roseate Spoonbill" [Photo courtesy of Danny O'Driscoll]
“Roseate Spoonbill” [Photo courtesy of Danny O’Driscoll]
"Great Dane" [Photo courtesy of Danny O'Driscoll]
“Great Dane” [Photo courtesy of Danny O’Driscoll]

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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