Creative Women – Danielle Mate Sullivan

Photo of Danielle Mate Sullivan

Through my own creative journey one of the great things has been the people that I have connected with along the way. There have been some amazing individuals who have inspired me, and I thought I would like to introduce you to some of them. Each week I am going to be asking each of these remarkable women a series of questions and then will be posting my “5 minutes with a Creative Woman”. I am hoping to not only give you a glimpse into their creative practice, but also provide you with some inspiration.

This week it is Danielle Mate Sullivan, a modern Aboriginal Artist from Edmondson Park in South Western Sydney. I met Danielle a few years ago through an artist network we both attended.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your creative practice.

I am a proud Aboriginal woman, who is a descendant of the Murrawari through my Mother’s maternal side, and Euahlayi through my Mother’s paternal grandmother. On my dad’s side, I have German heritage.

As Danielle Mate Sullivan, I create my own original works, but I also have a commercial brand DJMate.  Through my commercial brand I sell limited edition giclee prints, greeting cards and of course The NEW DJMATE BAG.

I run workshops with students and community groups and have also completed some public art projects, the biggest yet being 28mts tall for Sydney Water and Urban Growth.


I hear you also have a claim to fame?

I have been fortunate to work with The US Embassy in Canberra for quite a few years and due to this partnership, I was able to gift an artwork of mine to Barak Obama whilst he was President. Also, a piece to Ellen DeGeneres when she visited Australia.

What is your genre/medium?

I am a painter and have quite a diverse style and work in acrylic paint. There are my animal works that are very refined, layered and time-consuming, and then there are my landscape and more expressive works, which are loose and worked wet.

What is your first memory of being creative?

The first memory would be lunchtimes in the art rooms at High School, playing with different mediums, on my own. I loved it!

Who or what inspires you?

Photo of exhibition of works by Danielle Mate Sullivan

The landscape, natural smells, natural patterns, textures and shapes, and of course the wildlife too.  I always take photos of the landscape and details of things that are interesting.

I am also inspired by the late Emily Name Kngwarreye. Her works move me, I love their energy, movement and transparency.

Is there anything special you do to get into the right mindset and get the creative juices flowing?

Music and usually a big clean white canvas helps me to visualise, then once I have started the work just speaks to me.

How do you deal with creativity blocks?

Given I’m a commercial artist – with deadlines, I usually have to keep pushing through till I get there. That might mean lots of changes and wasted time, but I always get there.

What is one tip you would give other creatives?

It’s important to surround yourself with supportive people who truly believe in you. I would not be where I am today, without the support and encouragement of my husband Shane Sullivan. He has done everything in his power to help me realise my dreams, and make them happen – trust me, that’s been a WHOLE LOT OF WORK and still is. I often say he is more passionate about what I do than I am.

What is your favourite; colour, book, song, food and place?

Favourite colour is green, I don’t read so no favourite book, I love some old school 80s/90s, Mexican food and my favourite place Cancun.

 A big thank you to Danielle for sharing what it means to be a Creative Woman. Danielle’s beautiful work can be seen at her website, and that is where you will also find the DJMate shop for online purchases

Or follow her on Facebook or Instagram

Creative Women – Danielle Mate Sullivan

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