Rising Star Danny Lopes: “When you are being yourself as an artist you will only create more energy; Your light will be infectious and others will gravitate towards you”

Be yourself — It is the most natural thing. When you are being yourself, as an artist you will only create more energy… Your light will be infectious and others will gravitate towards you. When you struggle with understanding who you are — that is when the light dims… you try and be who others want you to be […]

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Be yourself — It is the most natural thing. When you are being yourself, as an artist you will only create more energy… Your light will be infectious and others will gravitate towards you. When you struggle with understanding who you are — that is when the light dims… you try and be who others want you to be and that is how you get BURNT! Fuel is confidence. When you understand that, you are forever changing and you will enjoy the ride.

As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Danny Lopes. Founder of XingXang, Danny is a Luso-American entrepreneur, abstract expressionist, actor and film producer. He was born and raised in Livingston, New Jersey where he started his acting career at the age of 8 years old. Progressing from grammar school plays and commercial auditions, he landed the lead role of “Bobby” in Dante Tomaselli’s film Desecration in 1999 at the age of 15. Director Dante Tomaselli cast Danny for his second feature film, Horror in 2003 which also stars Kreskin. After graduating from Roselle Catholic in New Jersey, Lopes moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He earned his acting certificate from the New York Film Academy while continuing to work with Dante Tomaselli on his film, Satan’s Playground with Ellen Sandweiss, Edwin Neill and Felissa Rose. Danny’s acting skills have matured over the years and his passion for film production has grown along with his career. Danny Lopes continues to expand his career into multiple facets of the entertainment and art worlds by expanding into the music industry and founding XingXang Studios in Hollywood, California. XingXang produces and showcases his abstract artwork which he creates from a place of visceral fortitude, inclusive of physical and digital pieces, large scale paintings, prints as well as clothing. He paints possibility and exploration, his mixed media creations set an experiential platform. Born out of life at its fullest, his color immersions and compilations touch chance and dance with possibility. Danny sees the world and its beings as boundless and his pieces speak to the infinite possibilities in all that is and could be. Lopes is inspired by the works of legendary icons Pollack, Dali and his cousin, Portuguese surreal artist, Dina Lopes. The streets of New York, Miami, LA and Lisbon often contribute to Danny’s inspiration and creations for his pieces, which each carry their own unique tone. The stories of his art are subjective and ever changing, innovating from a place of pride and promise. Having lived his dreams and enduring melee as an artist, entertainer, visionary and entrepreneur, his collective works are the stuff of stars. They are ageless, timeless and immutable, much like Danny himself. Danny Lopes continues to expand into multiple facets of the entertainment and art worlds while expanding his portfolio with roles in television series such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Dante Tomaselli’s upcoming remake of the hit film Alice, Sweet Alice. He resides in Los Angeles, California with his two dogs.

Thank you so much for doing this with us Danny! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up and what brought you to Los Angeles, CA?

I grew up in New Jersey, about 25 minutes from Manhattan… I played all the sports you could imagine and was also really into theatre. At a young age, I always new I wanted to have a creative career. I studied to be a magician and a ventriloquist… I started to make my own short films with students and friends from my town. My parents took me to my first audition at the age of 8 which was for Coca-Cola and when I was 15 years old I ended up auditioning for Dante Tomaselli’s first feature film “Desecration” and getting the starring role. After working on more films and experiencing the industry firsthand, I was addicted. It was just a natural process of my dreams to come to LA and be a star.

Can you share with us how you chose this specific career path in acting and the crossover as an abstract artist?

I have always considered myself an artist. I was painting and drawing since I can first remember. Acting for me, was an art form. It gave me a way to express myself without the use of a brush. The admiration of an applauding theatre, and reactions to my films gave me confidence that this career was for me.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Definitely finding out that my father used to work for Dante Tomaselli’s father. It was during our second film, “HORROR” that my father realized when he first moved to the United States from Portugal, he was an apprentice and worked for Dante’s father in a jewelry store. My parents actually got their wedding invitations from Dante’s father’s store! Small world. So many years later energy brought us together.

What was the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting out in acting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

That very first audition I mentioned for Coca-Cola… I was in 3rd grade but it feels as though it was yesterday. We were given direction and were told specifically NOT to open the cans of soda during auditioning. Well, when my cola was placed in front of me and I was ready to commit — might have been the nerves or my instinct to really be in character… I opened it up and chugged it. Everyone in the room was surprised that I could drink so fast — but ever since that day, I felt like I needed to pay close attention to direction and to trust your direction. I didn’t get cast for that spot and still to this day I feel like it was because I popped that can open!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My art has been the biggest motivation lately. I just recently did a show in DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles) with many other artists. I’ve also been working hard in creating a business around my art. Selling my prints and launching an online gallery. You can visit it at www.xingxang.com. In regards to acting, I am surrounded by amazing scripts and have been working on solidifying investments for them.

I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I’m all about it! We are seeing more and more diversity in the industry and I have always been supportive. I have played straight guys — gay guys — and have been in relationships filled with color. It brings us together and shows us we are all someone, we are all unique, and we should all be accepted as the modern community.

From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?

I would say to respect everyone’s voice. Embrace being yourself. Share love and be open to being loved.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Reflecting on my career, I’ve come to understand that there are many things I could’ve done differently, or thought out more. It’s in that moment that I appreciate the contrast in life. Our human habit to make mistakes, makes us stronger. My list would go on and on… And the list, would have things on it that people did tell me — what they warned me about — how to avoid it if I could. But the truth is I had to figure it out on my own.

Through these times, I realized that setbacks don’t have to be regretted. We are not competing against anyone, we are here to grow, to learn and to teach.

I feel it is never too late to turn your life around. Make better choices and see light.

Some people told me not to do Horror films — that they brought about a negative energy and that I would absorb that in my daily life — I still chose to do it. Family and close friends thought that I was crazy when I wanted to pose nude for Playgirl Magazine — but the fear actually drove me the excitement to carry it out. When you face your fears — that is when you really live.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Be yourself — It is the most natural thing. When you are being yourself, as an artist you will only create more energy… Your light will be infectious and others will gravitate towards you. When you struggle with understanding who you are — that is when the light dims… you try and be who others want you to be and that is how you get BURNT! Fuel is confidence. When you understand that, you are forever changing and you will enjoy the ride.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would inspire people through Xixology. The observation of Xixels. Xixels are cubic blocks of thought. It’s what I see as manifested thought. Everything we see was once an idea — our world is the result of all these ideas together. I have an equation that is tattooed on my right wrist. It is: X=ME³ … Take our Mass, multiply it with energy and cube the result! Poof — the law of attraction as an equation. You can manifest any of your dreams as long as you put enough energy into it and flush it out. I am a firm believer that you can accomplish anything!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Dante Tomaselli. Ever since our first film together he has been an incredible friend and mentor. He believes in me, gave me my first starring role and saw something in me to keep me involved in all his films. Dante is one of those teachers with endless influences to share. I have learned filmmaking and directing and became a stronger actor and artist by absorbing his lessons and watching him through his process. I will always be grateful for his contribution to the man I have become. We are currently working on “The Doll” and are very excited to begin production…

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The first quote that comes to mind is “Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.” It’s repeated in my mind over and over again. The quote reminds me to stay in the present, to adapt to situations and be prepared for open doors. Many times we ask for something and it’s right there in front of us. I can think of a few moments where I could have missed out on opportunities but I was prepared and ready emotionally for that change.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would have to say Depeche Mode — the whole group! I couldn’t just eat a meal with one of them. Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher. I am so inspired by their music and careers. The chance to sit with them and discuss life would be a dream come true. I would love to produce a movie about their lives. Now that I have thought it out more… if I had to choose just ONE person… perhaps Gordon Ramsay is the best person to have a meal with!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook: Facebook.com/dannylopes


Instagram: @lopesmedia


YouTube: LopesMedia

Twitter: @lopesmedia

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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