This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Danny Augustine.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
My artwork is a product of a meditative state I slip into while drawing. I never have a set image or idea when I begin a drawing so the end result is a reflection of the world around me. During my process, I filter in 24-hour news streams, personal experiences, and everyday life.
Once a drawing is completed, I study and analyze what I was feeling at that time. In some drawings, I could be communicating a political viewpoint, expressing a chapter within my life, or just absorbing the energies of our current times. I tend to tell collectors that I am like a sponge: I just absorb and transcribe visually like a poet or songwriter does with words or music. I’ve reached a point in my process nothing is forced—just a true form of automatic drawing.
2018:16, Pen and ink drawing, 18 x 24 inches
What is an artist’s responsibility?
Working as an art installer at the MCA Chicago gave me an inside view of how this machine we call the art world works. The artist’s true responsibility is to create. This may mean making time or space to create new pieces in a sometimes busy and overwhelming world. Adding to this, the gallerist’s job is to promote the unique perspectives that artists have to offer on any given topic or moment in time. Finally, the curator’s job is to place the artist within a space and within history. And the collector is the supporter of us all. A place in history can’t happen without the initial creation phase, so it is incredibly important that an artist remains inspired to create and comment on the world around them.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
2018:12, Pen and ink drawing, 18 x 24 inches
I always feel I’m constantly creating my greatest work of art, but right now I will feature 2018:12. This drawing is being shipped to South Korea this week and will hang within the International Modern Art Exhibition located at KEPCO (Korea Electricity Power Co.) Art Center Gallery located downtown Seoul, represented by Gallery Harang. This is my second exhibition within South Korea this year and I look forward to future projects.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
I never think in the negative and feel I can create anything I want and succeed. This could be why I was so successful as an art installer for a major museum. I was able to create, recreate, or piece together the artworks of leading artists of our time, an incredible responsibility. As I say to curators, make sure you are paying attention to the artist working beneath you—they could be the missed opportunity you never saw coming. So, like I’m told, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and tying to keep challenging and refining my process to grow my work.
2018:19, Pen and ink drawing, 18 x 24 inches
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
I know many artists across the board from different parts of my life, but today I’m going to honor the professors that inspire my own works of art.
Michiko Itatani guided me to find my purpose for creating.
Barbara Rossi gave me the tools to release the imagery that was floating around within my head and soul.
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: 2018:5, Pen and ink drawing, 18 x 24 inches)