Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Artist of the Week

Danny Powell

Community is vital to creative success, and all success for that matter. A community can aid in understanding, expansion, continued education, shared contacts, and so on. It is not that you have to be involved in something to be successful, but there is a measurable benefit that comes from participating in your community and finding like-minded individuals to help and promote.

Chicago's Danny Powell co-founded the Infidel Group back in 2006 with the goal of uniting Chicago’s artists and public through laid-back exhibitions in comfortable alternative spaces. It is a noble goal and one that suits the dynamic of the city well. He studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1990s, and has compiled an incredible portfolio of work over the last ten years.

Recently, Danny was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Danny Powell (DP): I would describe it as raw. abstract. sincere. The proper way to view it is with the “Slider” feature on my web-site. The images work better in groups, lined up or in grids.

OA: Do you utilize a set palette? Do ever use a particular color because of the emotion that it might evoke?
DP: I never utilize a set palette. I don’t choose colors based on how the audience may respond, because different colors mean different things to different people. Basically, I paint using intuition, so I make decisions based on how I feel at the time. The moods they evoke are out of my control, so I don’t really consider it.

OA: You have made the statement that 'Art can not be taught'. If that is the case, what is the role of the teacher? Would ever consider a spot as an art professor at a college?
DP: I am glad you asked me this, because I’ve always wanted to clarify that. I think a teacher should be a guide and nothing more. I believe it is more important for people to make art on their own, outside of institutions. I might consider a teaching post, somewhere, that depends. Right now it isn’t something I am interested in.

OA: Two years ago you co-founded The Infidel Group. What is the vision of the group, and do you feel the group has had an impact on the art scene in Chicago?
DP: The group was formed to bring people together. It makes things a whole lot easier when you have a team of artists. We wanted to have shows that put more of a focus on the people we invite and making sure everyone has a good time. Our shows are a celebration of friendship and life as opposed to some uptight, intimidating, or pretentious art function. I don’t really know what impact the group has had on the scene here. I think we are just getting started.

OA: What are your thoughts on Chicago's scene in general?
DP: I like the people involved with the scene here. There is a lot of talent and the artists are supportive and kind. I think that showing art here could be a lot easier if there was more support for us. Space is a huge problem and a lot of places want artists to pay to rent space. If people really want Chicago to be a world class city, then we need to make it easier to show art or perform music.

OA: What's next for Danny Powell?
DP: My main focus for the next year and a half is going to be on producing more work. I plan on applying for the Around the Coyote Fall ’08 show. Daniel Gerdes from Parts and Labor is coordinating a Chicago Art Collectives show in October, and that will be fantastic. I want to get the Infidel Group web site up. I’m going to get a passport and visit Europe, because I have some connections there and I’d like to show my work overseas.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, where is the best cup in town?
DP: I don’t drink coffee very often. I used to enjoy going to Filter, before it closed. I also liked Jinx. I’m partial to independent coffee places….that show and support art.

OA: You list several bands on your website, but what is your favorite type of music, and who are a few of your favorites?
DP: I am in love with the electric guitar, so my favorite music is guitar driven. Some of my favorites include the Stones, Dylan, and Hendrix.

For more information on Danny Powell please visit his website.

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