Posters, Narratives, and Linework: Recounting our Night with Daniel Danger and the National Poster Retrospecticus Exhibit
To kick off Baltimore Design Week 2015, we met at Stevenson University for a poster exhibit and art talk. The National Poster Retrospecticus (NPR) is a traveling poster show featuring over 400 pieces by over 125 artists from across the United States, with the purpose of celebrating and spreading appreciation of the made-by-hand poster movement. Curated by JP Boneyard, the exhibit included a wide range of styles. Minimal, intricate, flat, detailed, limited color…the variations showed attendees something new at every turn.
Daniel Danger, a New England-based illustrator and printmaker, and proprietor of Tiny Media Empire, lead the evening’s art talk. Asking first if we had anywhere to be anytime soon and warning us that he was about to “get weird with it,” Daniel walked us through his creative process, his work, and why he does what he does. A fan of “narratives stacked on narratives,” Daniel’s creations consist of fantasy settings mish-mashed together from various sources. Working with clayboard covered in black ink, Daniel painstakingly scrapes away the ink, creating the highlights in the piece. More than 200 hours of work goes into creating his large scale pieces.
Personal work ended up being key for Daniel during the tough points in his life. By creating work that had meaning just for him, he was able to deal with complex emotions and become a better illustrator in the meantime. Daniel gradually gained opportunities to sell his artwork. Work that he sarcastically described as “not at all personal” made its way onto posters commissioned for punk bands.
Closing his talk, Daniel was asked why he chose screenprinting as the final medium for his posters. Although he does not actively screenprint much anymore, Daniel described how much he loves the prepress process. Screenprinting, he said, is a very logical process. There either is, or isn’t ink. The intricate details of Daniel’s work can be recreated with a good printer, fine mesh screens, layering techniques and a lot of patience.
As far as subject matter—destroyed home towns, abandoned structures, memories of loved ones—no topic or life event is too dark to become the focus for his next piece. As Daniel so eloquently puts it, “everything is beautiful if you look at it the right way.”
Photography by Sophia Belitsos, a Baltimore native with a strong passion for photography—especially food, travel and photojournalism. View her work at sophiabelitsos.com.
Shannon Crabill is a HTML Email Developer at T. Rowe Price. Outside of the Internet you can find her riding her motorcycle and binge-watching home improvement shows on HGTV. Tweet her at @shannon_crabill.