Meet the Maker

Daren Magee

Daren Magee
Haustile and Ojai, California Artist, Daren Magee of Real Fun, Wow!, would like to introduce their tile collaboration. Magee's work pulls elements from natural and supernatural sources making any floor or wall a statement piece. Not only are the designs whimsical and abstract but the shapes and textures are grounded and earthy. 
Daren Thomas Magee is an Ojai, California-based freelance illustrator, muralist, and designer.
The aim of his work is to speak to the space between imagination and reality. His hope is to leave you to float off in that liminal space into someplace entirely new. He follows his intuition by creating something new every day and taking guidance from the people he trusts. He values the autonomy that his lifestyle provides and finds comfort in the fact that he is a work in progress.

How has your practice evolved over the years?

I find far less time to create than I use to. Mostly work (admin, emailing, parenting, etc.) gets in the way. So when I do finally carve out time to create I try to take it as seriously as possible, which is wholly contradictory to my desire to never take anything all that seriously.

What draws you to tiles? What makes your work suited for it?

Instagram was where I got my start as an artist. Being obsessive of order and layout, I constrained my images to the 1:1 ratio that Instagram's grid layout necessitates. So it was a no-brainer, natural fit for my work to end up on tiles. On a personal note, I think tiles are such a great way to add a personal touch of fun to any space that is otherwise standard by its own nature.

What advice do you have to creatives that are feeling forced to subscribe to the norms?

Study the norms, get really good at following them, and then start to move a few degrees, at a time, away from them until you're not 'normal' anymore. I think it's important to really understand where the baseline for anything is so you can stray as far from it as possible.

Where do you see your tiles being installed? Dream location / Type of space?

I always thought the bathroom was the place that you could have the most fun in, design-wise. A bathroom never needs to take itself too seriously. I think a very austere hotel, with all the pomp and circumstance possible crammed into it, with the surprise of a super wild and fun tiled bathroom would be most excellent. 

We know you have a podcast! What other mediums inspire you: interior design, films, books, etc.?

I absolutely love moving images. Film and TV are hugely inspirational. I love the art of filmmaking. All the many hands that come together to create a singular vision. I tried my hand at it once and did well, but ultimately wasn't for me. Too many hands.


Having the motivation and discipline to teach yourself a craft is admirable and inspiring. Do you think that learning on your own or attending, “Youtube University,” as you say, has added to your artwork and your message?

100%. Not having attended any classical university or training allowed me to forge my own path without the influence of others. I was able to figure out what I liked and try it out without any authority telling me I was doing it 'wrong'. I mean, it's art, one of the reasons I pursued it was so I wouldn't have people telling me what to do.