Objects of beauty & integrity
This story was featured in the February 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art February 2013 print edition, or download the Southwest Art February 2013 issue now…Or just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Danny Grant was wearing his brother’s worn leather boots one day when an idea for a painting began to take root in his imagination. The boots were remnants from his brother’s time at a U.S. Navy boot camp. Grant then remembered that his family had an American flag that was once draped over his grandfather’s coffin—he was also in the Navy. Neither his brother nor grandfather died in combat, as the painting might suggest, but Grant saw the objects as telling a story about a family tradition and possessing what he calls “a certain integrity.” He added his grandfather’s sailor hat and a pipe he found in an antiques mall near his home in Austin, TX.
Telling beautiful stories in paint is Grant’s primary goal these days. At one time, though, he considered a career in opera, which he even pursued in his spare time while earning a degree in illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Eventually his passion for the visual arts took center stage. After graduation he headed to New York to study for three years at the Water Street Atelier with Jacob Collins, Edward Minoff, and a number of other teachers who continue to influence his work today.
While many still-life artists gravitate toward bouquets of flowers and bowls of fruit as subject matter, a Grant still life is more likely to feature vintage whiskey glasses, tobacco pipes, or finely tooled holsters. He is inspired by objects that are well-designed and well-crafted. For example, in his painting INDIAN SUMMER, which won a top honor in Greenhouse Gallery’s Salon International show last spring, he assembled a baseball, bat, and glove, depicting them in his signature style that features chiaroscuro lighting reminiscent of Rembrandt and the Renaissance painters.
Grant unapologetically says his artistic goal is simple: to make attractive paintings. “I strive for clarity and the exploitation of beautiful moments in my paintings,” he says. “By making beautiful, clear pictures, I am implicitly saying that the world is a benevolent place where beauty exists and happiness is possible.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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