Sir Daniel K. Winn is an internationally recognized blue-chip artist, fine-art curator, awarded entrepreneur, and highly respected philanthropist. In recognition of his direct support to humanitarian causes, having directly assisted in raising millions of dollars for non-profit aid in the United States and Asia, Winn was honored with the prestigious title of “Sir” when knighted in 2018 under the Princely House of Shaumburg-Lippe-Nachod — one of only five recipients of the title in the recent history of the royal family. Winn’s work has been featured at esteemed exhibitions worldwide. And among many other distinctions, he is the Board Chairman of The Academy of Fine Art Foundation, CEO and curator of Masterpiece Publishing, Inc., and Founder of Winn Slavin Fine Art, one of the most prestigious art galleries in Beverly Hills. Sir Daniel has been featured in and graced the covers of numerous prestigious international magazines including Preferred, Lapalme, Forbes, and Harper’s Bazaar. We recently caught up with Sir Daniel to discuss fashion, his self-care routine, and more.
Your gallery is located in Beverly Hills. What’s entailed in “dressing up”?
Beverly Hills is considered to be a glamorous city. Like New York, Paris, Milan, it’s very fashionable. So, what we like to do is really make sure that we dress appropriately, especially when we’re representing our artists. Our specialists at the gallery are in designer clothes, whether it’s Tom Ford, Armani, Gucci — or women in Chanel, Versace or Prada. Since we’re dealing with collectors in Beverly Hills, international visitors, and the like, we want to look the part.
When you’re working in your studio creating your art, I’m assuming it’s a more casual look. What do you like to wear?
It’s interesting because my studio is pretty much a revolving door. I have a lot of my staff and sometimes even our patrons and collectors come to visit me. And there are always visitors who like to take photos with me too, so I have to look the part of an artist. I love to just wear jeans and a T-shirt to paint in, because it gets pretty messy whether it’s at my studio or at the foundry. And I love very loose T-shirts and sometimes shorts — I even paint barefoot at times. But while I can do that, and I feel comfortable in it, I’m also very aware that I have to look the part.
What would you call your style?
I would say my style is eclectic/bohemian/elegant. As an artist I can go rock and roll — boots and jewelry and heavy jackets. I can also go very tuxedo-formal, however, but with hand-embroidered jackets by Guo Pei. Or I can wear Tom Ford or Giorgio Armani in a business setting. In a more casual setting, I’m happy with Prada and Gucci jeans, T-shirts, and a Saint Lauren shirt. I tend to go in many different directions in terms of fashion. I love wearing these designer clothes because it gives me a sense of confidence: it fits well, it feels good, and in a way translates into my performance as well. And when I feel confident in myself, my art exudes a lot more energy and authority.
Who were your fashion influences when you were coming into your own?
I would say initially it was my mother. She was the very first Vietnamese American that had a couture boutique in Orange County. It was the very first in 1980 — high end, like a Neiman Marcus with all the designers. At that time, she had Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. I learned a lot by watching her style and from attending a lot of fashion shows with her — and also being a buyer in the clothing industry. I also assisted her in selecting clothes. So, she was probably my biggest influence in understanding fashion, fit, and look. As an artist it was very educational to learn how fashion can also be art. I never thought that I would be into clothing or fashion, yet when I became involved with it, I learned that haute couture is an art form, the difference being that you’re creating wearable art. And after becoming more influenced by fashion, I began to meet people who were very fashionable, like designers, who then guided me even further to the look that I have today.
What’s your self-care routine?
In a sense this is a fashion question too, since your physical attributes are affected by what you wear. A lot of designers unfortunately don’t make clothes that are for everyone, especially the haute couture. They tend to make really unique sizes. So, when you’re fit, you tend to have more options; you can wear more form-fitting options that are tailored to your style. Not to say that you have to be fit to wear wonderful clothes and designer clothes — that’s not that case. But for me, I like to stay fit and healthy, so that’s part of my mental and physical daily routine. I exercise four or five times a week. I’m into yoga, boxing, cycling, and of course working out at the gym. I eat a very healthy diet. Never restrict anything, but very healthy. And in terms of skincare products, I have a sponsor called MD Sun. It’s a very high-end, upscale skin product that I endorse. I’m essentially their face for Asian men. Their product is exceptional. A lot of times people mistake me for my late thirties, but I’m in my mid-fifties. So obviously the product is really good. Using their product, staying healthy, eating right, exercising, all of it falls into the same category of being healthy. And the byproduct is that you’re also able to wear clothes that look good on the red carpet and on camera, which is especially important now that I’m on a TV series. Image is somewhat important for television, for my producer, director, and of course my publicist. So, I try to maintain that to make sure my success is parallel to that of my talent and perceived as who I am as an artist.
Speaking of your TV show, can you tell us a little more about that?
The TV show is a docu-reality series about the mysterious art industry. It is a unique glimpse through my eyes and experience in the art world based on our galleries in Beverly Hills, Winn Slavin Fine Art. The series will highlight why artworks are in the millions of dollars and what is considered fine art; it is a very fascinating and intriguing world that most people are not familiar with. Events will be insightful with sometimes shocking information based on real experiences; yet extremely entertaining as well.
I hear you’ve secured a second gallery location in Beverly Hills, this one on Rodeo Drive. Anything you can share with us about that?
Yes, we are opening a second gallery in Beverly Hills located on Rodeo Drive. It’s 3,500 square feet with two floors. To be on Rodeo Drive is considered to be with the “big players”; that’s where you see all the major designer flagship stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, etc. I’m so proud and excited to have our blue-chip artists and my works be represented in Winn Slavin Fine Art, and to be in one of the most prominent retail spaces in the world. We’re anticipating the opening to be January 2021.