Introduction: A Fusion of Art and Technology
In the captivating realm of movie visual effects, there exists an artist whose creativity has roared like a lion, leaving audiences stunned by the breathtaking spectacles they helped create, and they’re just getting started! Meet Daniel Enrique De León, a passionate, multi-disciplinary Artist/Designer, upcoming Filmmaker, and the visionary force behind Lion-Arts Productions. (Lion-Arts.com)
His journey from the picturesque suburbs of Lancaster, PA, to the bustling streets of Los Angeles has been nothing short of remarkable. However, before his professional artistic journey began, Daniel’s path led him to the heart of emergency medicine, where his creative and compassionate mind & hands helped save lives at Lancaster General Hospital. Having a unique blend of formal education in biology & anatomy as well as real-world, hands-on experience in multiple fields has made him a sought after 3D Artist / Digital Sculptor, and Art Director. Having these skills enabled him to work on highly detailed shows like WestWorld, and be among Oscar-Nominated teams for iconic films such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” -where he worked primarily on Spidey’s full-body suit & muscle animations as well as other main characters’, and 2019’s “The Lion King” where he crafted powerful, stunning storyboards for an entire iconic sequence which sadly, didn’t make it into the final film due to time (Mufasa coming to Simba in the Clouds), but John Favreau was blown away by the epic scenes Daniel produced.
Background: A Confluence of Art and Science
Daniel’s path to creative mastery was an evolution from a formal background in Biology and Clinical Emergency Medicine. Working in one of the nation’s Top 50 E.R.s for several years, he developed a deep appreciation for the value of life and a profound understanding of the human experience. However, his heart was still deeply tied to the worlds of art and storytelling. Taking a leap of faith, he committed himself fully to his passion, intertwining real-world science, technology, conservation, and compassion for animals with the power of storytelling. This ethos resonates throughout his creative and technical disciplines, with a core belief of his that “The Arts are where culture is formed & influenced.”
The Lion’s Prey (Clients)
As the founder of Lion-Arts Productions, Daniel’s artistic prowess, bold ambitions, designs and professionalism have attracted an impressive roster of top-tier clients and brands. From lending his talent to Spider-Man No Way Home, Indiana Jones & the Dial of Destiny, Katy Perry’s Las Vegas Residency Show, DC’s Black Adam, next months’s Blue Beetle, to collaborating with renowned companies like Digital Domain, MPC, HBO, Netflix, Apple, & many more, as well as even having his physical 3D Printed works featured at the prestigious Media Lab of MIT! Daniel’s creations have graced both the silver screen and physical world stages. On Black Adam Daniel was one of only a handful of artists tasked with accurately creating each of the digital doubles of Dwayne Johnson, Quintessa Swindell, Aldis Hodge, and Pierce Brosnan. For Katy’s Vegas show, he digitally sculpted & textured her most iconic stage set pieces: The entire, giant mushroom & grass set, the crushed beer can which Katy stands & lays on for her trash set, and a literal larger-than-life animatronic snail which Katy rides atop onto stage! Not to mention, his work with Formlabs, Wacom, & Ultimaker ha been instrumental in inspiring & challenging the 3D Printing industry with the stunning levels of quality he’s been able to achieve, pushing the machines beyond their theorized limits to showcase what’s actually possible to 3D Print, most notably with FormLabs, where he serves as an Ambassador and printed one of the most impressive 3D Printed maquettes ever on their Form 3 LFS 3D Printer -a 20 inch tall, fully feathered & fur covered griffin-like creature, known as “Trico” -a stunning & beloved hero character from the hit Sony PlayStation / GenDesign video game masterpiece: “The Last Guardian” (pictured) -a creature originally designed by famed game director Fumito Ueda.
Crafting stunning 3D printed maquettes has become an impressive side job for Daniel as well, as his works have been commissioned by directors such as: Collin Trevorrow, JA, Bayona, film producers, and senior staff from Industrial Light & Magic for their private collections, as well as gifting some to actors, most notably a raptor to Chris Pratt, and a screen-accurate, vicious charging alien to John Krasinski to commemorate the opening of A Quiet Place Part 2 (Pictured).
A Passionate Advocate and Encourager
Beyond his creative endeavors, Daniel is a staunch advocate for cetaceans, animals of all kinds, and a proud Corgi-dad, Daniel aims to be an inspirational force to others for the good of nature and living creatures, both great & small. He loves to sculpt & design creatures the most. “Whenever I’m given the opportunity to create a creature -especially dinosaurs or dolphins, I leap at the chance to tackle that creative challenge! I love it!” Daniel’s love for marine mammals, science, technology, and conservation has continued to influence and fascinate him since his childhood, spurring storytelling that aims to make a positive impact; A dream project he would love to direct is a photo-real / “live action” adaptation of the classic (some might say infamous) ‘92 Sega Genesis video game “Ecco the Dolphin” of which he has crafted multiple stunning, photo-real key art pieces (pictured), both out of pure love for the IP & per the request of Ecco’s creator, famed game designer: Ed Annunziata, who has become a creative hero and friend of Daniel’s over the years.
Hey Ed! Give Daniel a shot!
Challenging the Boundaries of Imagination
At Lion-Arts Productions, Daniel aims to continually challenge himself, consistently raising the bar of creativity with every project he undertakes. As a lover of Film and powerful storytelling, Daniel’s first true love is something he’s actively moving into currently, taking on the role of Writer/Director to craft intense, meaningful, intelligent and shockingly beautiful adventures. He aims to have a thrilling, digital short completed by year’s end and has begun writing a documentary which he will begin shooting sometime in 2024 (more on that next).
Today finds Daniel also serving as Chief Creative Officer at a new startup: Space Interactions, Inc., Daniel’s journey is one of seemingly boundless horizons! At SI he will be tasked with writing & directing a groundbreaking documentary on Space history & its cutting-edge developing technologies, aiming to showcase some of the world’s best & brightest within the aerospace industry, with the hopes of inspiring the next generation of space-fairing scientists & adventurers.
Like his namesake, Daniel moves forward with a spirit that roars, but has a legacy grounded in compassion, humanity, artistry, and technology. He remains forever grateful to be able to help create wonders that leave audiences spellbound the world over. From the farmlands of Lancaster to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Daniel Enrique De León’s unwavering dedication to creativity is a testament to his ethos indeed, “The Arts are where culture is formed & influenced.”