FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER + ILLUSTRATOR, HORSE TRAINER AND RIDING INSTRUCTOR
Desert Mama- Who is Danielle and where can we find her? Tell us about yourself:
Danielle Vee- I’m a loud 5’2 little person and you can currently find me in Gavilan Hills, California. I’m a freelance graphic designer + illustrator, horse trainer and riding instructor.
DM- How and when did the love for riding horses and motorcycles come about?
D- I started riding horses at 4 years old on my parents property in Long Island, NY. Our house had a stable on the property and polo players rented out the stalls, they’re the ones that taught me to ride and basic care of horses!
Motorcycles came later in life, I’ve always loved them and my dad had bikes but I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for a class about 10 years ago!
DM- Who taught you how to do both things?
D- The polo players that rented out the stalls at my parents barn would bring me to matches and they just started throwing me on horses. I wish I knew where they were these days because I’d love to tell them thank you.
DM- Have you had a serious fall on horseback or motorcycle throughout your life?
D- I’ve eaten dirt plenty of times but my worst was probably when I was in 6th grade. I was riding a horse (Danny Boy) in an indoor arena, and something fell on the roof and spooked him BAD. He took off heading to the entrance door and as I went to perform an emergency dismount, he turned and my foot got caught in the stirrup. I was dragged around the entire arena until he finally flung me into a wall. I snapped my wrist in half and my entire body was pierced with wood chip footing.
I had my first motorcycle wreck shortly after moving to Nashville. I was following a friend home on a pitch black road with a million turns, and I saw he dodged something and while I was looking at him, I looked down to see chunks of rocks. I knew it was too late to react so I just braced myself for what was going to happen. My bike high sided and we went into a ditch causing my motorcycle to land on top of me. I was so relieved my bike wasn’t totaled and rode it home shortly afterwards.
DM- We have also seen you are a graphic designer; your photography and illustrations are beautiful, tell us about this too:
D- Thank you so much! I started drawing (mostly horses) when I was 5, my parents aren’t artists so I’m not sure where it came from. I just always liked doing something creative. I want to say I got into photography around the same time, and always had a camera in my hand. I eventually learned how to develop my film sets myself which is something I miss doing now.
DM- Show us your best work by now and tell us why you love it:
D- This one was a commissioned piece and different from my usual requests. I was commissioned to draw motorcycles mostly, and then I got a Lil Peep project.
It’s my favorite because it was a test for my attention to detail and I was happy with how it came out!
DM- The part you love the most of what you do, and the worst part:
D- I love that I’m able to work with animals everyday because they’re so important to me. I treat client horses like they’re my own so they become my little partners haha.
I also love that I’m able to still be creative when I take on my design projects.
Taking a break from designing full time has made me enjoy it a whole lot more, it was starting to feel more like a “job” and less like a passion.
DM- Where and how would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?
D- I’d love to have a horse sanctuary that rehabs kill pen horses and finds them a forever home.
I also want to incorporate local prisons and work with them to help rehab inmates. Horses are great healers and can help give someone a second chance in life.
DM- Your happiest childhood memory:
D- All the years growing up in my Brookville, NY house. I still think of my childhood there and I always say my best memories were at that house. That house/barn is still my dream house if I’m ever asked and I would love to buy it back one day.
DM- Your best quality and your worst defect:
D- I like to think I’m pretty determined, if I ever want to do something, I do it.
My worst is not making more time for myself and I’m always stressed wanting to do things myself or else “it won’t be done right” haha.
DM- What makes you angry:
D- Ignorant know it alls.
DM- If you could only choose a thing to do the rest of your life, what would it be: illustration, photography, riding horses or riding motorcycles:
D- I love them all but my life would never be complete without horses. They’re my anti-depressants and we just understand each other.
Some people try to be a horsemen but it’s something that just comes naturally, you can’t force it. Either you have it or you don’t.
DM- A success and a failure:
D- Getting my dream job (at the time) at Nylon Magazine before I graduated art school.
My failure (in my eyes) is not finishing art school later on since I dropped out after being hired at Nylon.
– A phrase: Less honkin’, more Tonkin’
– A film: Almost Famous.
– A song: When The Levee Breaks -Led Zeppelin.
– A drink: Ever have an ice cold coke from McDonald’s when you’re hungover? My goddddd.
– A book: One that teaches you something.
– A city: Fort Worth, TX.
WHAT DOES DANIELLE PREFER?
- Ten years in a coma / Ten years in jail
- City life / Country life
- Talking to animals / Talking to the dead
- Having more time / Having more money
- Constantly winter / Constantly summer
- Having a family with 5 kids / Not having kids at all
- Only eating salty food/ Only eating sweet food
- Waking up in a desert / In a boat in the middle of the Ocean
- Light on / Light off
- Being submissive / Being dominant
- Something organized / Something improvised
- Visiting the past /Visiting the future
- Motorcycle trip / Car trip
- Being unable to see / Being unable to hear (even though it´s a torture to think I´d never listen to music again)
- Reality / Fiction
- Never leaving your city / Not being able to return
- Continuing with your life / Restarting your life
- Knowing what you will die of / Knowing what day you will
- Music concert / Theater play