We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Blanding and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, why did you pursue a creative career?
Pursuing a creative career was not something I knew I wanted to do, but I also didn’t realize that it could be an actual option for me. Growing up, I loved to draw. I remember drawing in church all the time with small pieces of paper that my mom would give me out of her purse. I viewed creating as something I just liked to do, I never even considered what I was doing to be “art.” My initial plan in high school was to become a pediatric surgeon. By the time I graduated I was applying to an HBCU for Bioengineering, an amazing career, but my mom came to me and asked me about art school. I remember being a little confused, but also super intrigued. My mom and I took a tour of the school and I fell in love. I applied to the school as soon as the tour was over and bam!, I was accepted and didn’t think twice about my other school applications. Ever since then, I’ve been on the creative path and it’s been amaze balls.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My practice is evolving through an exploration focused on the fear of cause and effect. I explore between the beautiful and grotesque, drawn particularly to the human figure and its distortion. I’m constantly exploring human medical conditions specifically in relation to skin, as well as, the natural world, specifically fungi.
I like to explore fear in relation to phobias and bodily conditions, using the human body as a tool. A search for beauty within a body’s extremes on the brink of de-fleshing. I’m creating a world of characters that embrace their own faults, the “uglier” side of human nature.
I’m challenging the understanding of the human condition, creating portraits that might be of one’s internal self image, than one’s mirror image. I’m reflecting on the human condition that relates to psychological transition. Beauty of all kinds may give us a strange delight and satisfaction, while deformity can produce pain to whatever subject it may be applied to, whether it be living or nonliving. The figures in my work exhibit that beauty and deformity is well related to self. If beauty or deformity is placed upon our own bodies, there would either be an impression of pride or self-depreciation. Society has a twisted view of beauty, only viewing it in one particular way.
Beauty is such a standard by law of human nature that it constructs a feeling of pleasure and ease as deformity builds uneasiness. I want my work to create an odd, but also somewhat humorous balance of revulsion and captivation. I’m most proud of my progression through my few years of painting. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can confidently say, this is my style.
Being an artist comes with its challenges. It’s definitely not an easy lifestyle choice, but if you love it as much as I do, it won’t matter too much. You can overcome anything when you truly believe in yourself. It’s always a challenge at first, but I had to put my belief into practice until I could get it somewhat right. As an artist, you will always here a range of opinions, don’t let that deter you from something that makes you happy.
If painting continues to make me happy, I’m painting till I’m off to another galaxy. I’m not too sure about what I want the “world” to know about me. That’s a big question that I think I need to sit on for awhile.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, at this time Rona is out to get you, so I’d say let’s watch some movies, eat some good food, and chillax. Honestly, besides traveling, this is more than likely what we would do anyways.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutouts to God. Second, my mom, because without her I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. She deserves all the credit. Third, my dad, brothers, and sister for always being there and supporting me. Shoutouts to all of my family that has supported me, it’s a lot of them! I love them all to the fullest! Then of course, my chosen family, whom I love so so much as well. To Jazmyn, Solo, Dom, Jordan, Ellie, Zari, Syd, and Adele…Thank you for your love and support. Honestly, almost everyone I have crossed paths with down my journey so far needs a shoutout and there is no way I can list all of these people. So, if you’re reading this article and you know me, shoutouts to you! I can’t thank you enough for believing in me.
Donate to Danielle: Your support will help her fund supplies for her upcoming Solo exhibition https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=AsqfWQib-Gt8Ra9wcVqEo56Jv1vmKm-d_gkFdkdl_gov9dHfGkOJB59npbMUvw3YFsz9eRJcJjhnPB2T&fromUL=true&country.x=US&locale.x=en_US
Russell Blanding and Charlie Watts