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A passion for art sparks a quirky business

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Daniel Pavlovic was passionate about art at school but didn’t dream that one day his designs would become the quirky artwork for T-shirts now sought after at markets and retail outlets throughout Western Australia and by overseas buyers.

In just a few years, the 22-year-old has gone from testing the market for his T-shirts at the 2012 Darlington Arts Festival to establishing his own business, daniel (ink.).

Daniel said the reaction to his hand-drawn designs, screen-printed on to quality T-shirts, was so positive he launched his own business, at an event in April 2013 at the Darlington Hall.

“We invited lots of community members, family and friends and had an amazing fashion parade,” Daniel said.

Daniel said his teachers at Helena College, particularly Christian Hansen, had been instrumental in motivating him to pursue his artistic talent.

“I was also really lucky living around the corner from [the late acclaimed artist] Robert Juniper and benefiting from his advice,” Daniel said.

“Another big influence was my arts mentor in 2014, Ant Muia. He taught me some new painting skills using acrylics. We did a series of themes, such as abstracts, clowns, teddy bears, and used illustration techniques with charcoal, teaching more about light and shade.” 

The outcome of his new approach was shown in an exhibition of paintings and illustrations at the Darlington Hall, in May this year.

Daniel said his father Ivan had been his greatest support, not only in helping him establish his business but also in the day-to-day operations.

“My Dad is the person I bounce most of my ideas off, but other members of the family are right behind me too,” Daniel said.

“My Baba, or Grandmother, sews all the labels on my shirts and my sister looks after my market bookings and general administration,

“Of course my Mum is there to help me too, with my day-to-day care to make life that bit easier.”

In June 2015, Daniel was commissioned to complete a one-off design for international company Bont Skates, which is based in Australia.

The company was so impressed with Daniel’s design it has placed its first order for 1,000 T-shirts – 700 have been shipped to the USA and 300 to Europe.

Daniel was also nominated for two business awards this year: the Belmont Small Business Awards, where he was a finalist, and the Mundaring Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards, where he won the Judges’ Choice Award.

Living with cerebral palsy is challenging, Daniel said, but he enjoyed the challenge.

“Cerebral palsy has affected my legs, torso and my hands,” he said.

“I’ve had corrective muscle surgery numerous times and have worn plastic splints for years. I have to exercise daily. I’ve stretched and stretched, and I’ve pretty much had botox injected everywhere. I also go to a physio and a psychologist.

“I mostly get around in my wheelchair, but I also have a Gopher, a walking frame, sticks, an all bells-and-whistles chair for basketball, and a converted car to suit my needs, as I now have my driver’s licence.”  

Daniel credits The Ability Centre (formerly the Centre for Cerebral Palsy) with assisting him for many years, and as acknowledgment of their work he gives the organisation 10 per cent of all daniel(ink.) profits.

He also enjoys taking part in Wheelchair Sports Association sports, and says it has helped build his confidence, physical ability and provided a great social outlet.

In May this year, a television station broadcast a story about Daniel and his business, which has given his business a national profile.

The television story can be viewed on Daniel’s Facebook site, Daniel.Ink clothing.

For more about Daniel and his business visit