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Check out Danielle Chenette’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Chenette.

Danielle, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in a rural town in Massachusetts and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My friends, sister and I were really into creating and we were always making books, movies or drawing comics. I kept a sketchbook through high school but kept it to myself. I always dreamed of becoming an illustrator but had no idea how to go about it.

After a year at a traditional college, I decided to go for it and transfer to SAIC in Chicago where I found a home in the comics and animation departments. I became obsessed with comics/visual storytelling and got a job doing political cartoons for the school newspaper. After graduating, I juggled my doodle time with the weirdest (usually seasonal) jobs I could find and spent virtually every moment, not at work drawing and painting.

One day, years later, after doing a handful of small illustrations here and there I got an email from an Art Director offering my first real break — a full article with seven illustrations, and it paid REAL money. I was elated and honored and, most importantly, hooked. It was the first instance of hope for me, that there WAS a future in making and that it was possible with determination, persistence, and blind kindness of strangers who believe in you. I did full-time freelance for a couple of years but it really burned me out and drained me creatively. Now balance my art career with a super part-time job in a candle factory in Commerce and I am feeling more powerful and happy in my career than ever.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work, for the most part, is about the natural world and the funny delusions humans will come up with to make sense of it all. I like to consistently work in a steady rotation of 4 mediums: pencil illustration, marker drawings, hand-drawn animation, and gouache painting. Everything I create begins with tangible materials. I generally work with a plan but allow myself to make decisions moment to moment, embracing the odd solutions that arise naturally and will differ medium to medium. The presence of the human hand is really important to me because it reinforces the wisdom of imperfection.

My message is to be aware and open to the endless points of view that are informing every situation you experience in life and to understand that it’s so much bigger than any one person’s interpretation. I hope people find humor and hope in my work; I hope more that it inspires others to re-examine their expectations on what is possible.

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
Success is hard to define, especially for me as I still feel I have so much farther to get to where I want to be as an artist. I used to think success only meant supporting yourself entirely on money made from art and being able to create all day — this idea feels entitled and a little bit selfish to me today. Now, my idea of a successful artist is someone who is constantly creating/working on their own terms while being physically present in their local community and has the ability to give back to it.

I think an essential quality that defines artistic success is the ability to be persistently determined to work. The ability to think long term and make small efforts every single day is key, whether that means doodling in your notebook everyday or emailing people you want to work with or learning a new software program, whatever your intention is. I truly believe this mindset and the work that comes from it will inevitably manifest into tangible energy that can propel you through the creative doors you want to enter into.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
As of right now, aside from various national editorial illustrations, you can find in the wild, you can see my work on my newly designed website. This year I’m working a lot more animation (you can see some shorts screening at HELLAVISION TELEVISION in Minneapolis and a few other cities) and hopefully debuting a new body of paintings in show of some sort – the details are still being ironed out!

You can also visit my online store (which can be found via my website) and buying some comics! But most importantly you can support me by staying tuned 🙂

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Chris Page, Tyler William Parker

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