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Meet Danni Blackman of DBlackmanArt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danni Blackman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started my painting process when I was seventeen. For no real reason, I had a strong urge to paint one spring afternoon. I gathered all of the supplies I could find from my childhood leftovers and attempted to paint a landscape on my back porch. For the life of me, I could not translate my visions onto a canvas accurately. I also noticed that I enjoyed mixing colors on a palette more than painting mountains or trees.

I soon after began using my canvas as the palette during each session. A little less than a year later I got a record player for my birthday. “The Bends” album by Radiohead was the first album that inspired me to “paint sounds.” I was liberated by the colors I saw with each track I blasted in my space. Presently, the combination of color mixing with emotions stirred from music has been the most significant part of my process.

I didn’t think my work would ever see the outside until I met a mystical artist who invited me to showcase a couple of pieces at her music video release party. That night was terrifying, vulnerable, and a magic moment I’ll never forget. The woman and her band were welcoming and incredibly talented. They made a tiny vape shop feel like a spaceship traveling through the galaxy.

As I took in this sort of alien environment, seeing my art hung up alongside so many different artists, made me feel like I belonged somewhere. I started submitting myself to city art walks. The more I connected with the art community, the more I learned the creative ways I could sell my work online. I now sell on society6.com and fineartamerica.com under my full name, Danni Blackman or DBlackmanArt.

Has it been a smooth road?
A business as an artist hasn’t been the smoothest of roads. Being someone without a significant reputation attached to my name makes it difficult to build consistent exposure and a following. Networking is usually more of an uncomfortable chore than the pleasant experience I’d like it to be, I am a painfully awkward extrovert so as much as I would like to make a smooth introduction and connection with people, I find it eventually leads to nowhere since conversations get lost in small talk and elongated pauses.

Consequently, work slows down when I lose relevance in the community. Alongside this, some of my biggest struggles with my business have been brought on by my battle with mental illness. I suffered two manic episodes in 2016 from Bipolar 1 Disorder. Recovery was a bizarre and frustrating process. One minute I was Danni, the next I was talking to people in the third person calling myself “Jude.” I couldn’t trust the sight of my own reflection or any of my own thoughts. Vending and the online business came to a halt.

Painting changed from a profession to a form of therapy. I made a lot of work during this time, but they were too personal and nonsensical for me to showcase. It took a little over a year to get my mind and business running again. The intensive break had me starting from scratch. Cycling through thoughts of “If I didn’t get sick then maybe I’d be somewhere better…” was the battle that came after I won my mental war.

Art and the art business is a vulnerable place to be for anybody and having to fight my self-doubt was and still is, another bump in this rocky road. Overall, knowing that these struggles are possible to overcome makes me feel stronger than I have in my life so far. I don’t think they will ever end, but I am confident I will figure my way out one way or the other, it’s in our nature to keep moving.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the DBlackmanArt story. Tell us more about the business.
I paint, photograph, and sell original abstract acrylic pieces that are transferred on to prints, side tables, coffee mugs, and greeting cards. My work is a sense of escapism because the vibrant and sporadic use of paint allow others to feel safe expressing their energetic, nonsensical, and sometimes childish selves.

I would say that what sets me apart from my competition is my authenticity. I openly share the journey endured for every piece, and I express myself through skills I have developed from my own experimentation. There is no filter of somebody else’s technique with what I do.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see myself changing my business into a community healing organization that provides art therapy for those suffering from mental illnesses. To start, my focus will be more on commission and building a new website that solely sells my canvases, in order to save up money for financial support for the activist groups near and dear to my heart.

I am deeply passionate about grassroots organizations and intend to blend my art and activism together by telling important stories through color and helping others tell theirs. I do intend to keep up the online stores during and after these transitions.

My education is going to make a major shift from participating solely in events for entertainment to events for social and political justice.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
The Labyrinth Art Show in October of this year was a black light art maze in downtown Los Angeles. I had to make three canvas pieces specifically for it since none of my work is made for a glow-in-the-dark environment. It was a challenge to find a balance between making things pop under black light and natural light (in case someone wanted to purchase a piece).

I was proud of the amount of dedication I put into each work emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I felt the three-piece series complimented each other by their intentionally unintentional pattern and structure. It was a priceless moment in my career where I witnessed the way creative energy can connect to everything it surrounds. It was one of the most diverse and charismatic events that I ever had the privilege of participating in.

Pricing:

  • -Society6 8 X 9 Online Prints: $17.99
  • -Society6 22 X 26 Online Prints: $34.99
  • -Society6 Set Of 3 Folded Cards 5 X 7: $15.99
  • -Society6 Round or Square Table: $159.00

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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