Danny Simmons: Abstract Expressionism via “Oil on Smartphone”Posted: February 23, 2014
Daniel “Danny” Simmons, Jr., is a painter from Queens, New York City. Self-taught, he used to watch his mother, an amateur painter, while she worked. In the early 1990s he began to concentrate seriously on painting, incorporating influences from Catalan painter Joan Miró, and developing a style he calls Neo-African Abstract Expressionism. His artwork is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, The Shomburg Center for Black Culture, and The Smithsonian. In 1995, with his brothers Joseph and Russell, he founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, out of which grew Rush Arts Gallery in Manhattan and Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn. Though he has long painted in oils, recently Simmons has started to make “Digital Prints” – Smartphone Art. Using a Samsung Galaxy Note II phone and the accompanying stylus he has learned a new way to draw and paint using the device’s embedded app. Rather than printing multiples of these phone-sketches or phone-paintings he prints just one – making it an original artwork with value beyond a print. Simmons uses a professional digital printing house whose staff vectorize the image files so that the resolution holds together and then they print the images on high-quality paper. Asked what he thinks about when he’s painting – and “painting”– Danny Simmons has said: “I’m really trying to get at how people are connected to each other and invoke the feeling that these paintings are taking you to a place where a lot of people can be transported to at the same time, and find a common ground there. Society is so polarizing – between rich and poor, races and religions – but one of the things that can bring people together is art.” (Quotation from WhiteHot magazine interview with Paul Laster, December 2013)
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