Although a young artist, when you meet Danny Aron and sit down to speak with him, he seems like an old soul that has experienced and been inspired by the world. Danny has been wading through the waters of the creative process his entire life through painting, DJing, producing music and even through his other creative art form of skateboarding.
RiseAD sat down with the artist known as DVNNY for a chat.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I knew I wanted to be an artist at a very young age from the moment my mother gave me my first sketch pad and markers. I spent my childhood drawing every day, whether at school or at the dinner table. I always had a pen in my hand.
Creating always seemed to come naturally to me. However, I owe an immense amount of gratitude to my mother who raised me as a single mother after my parents divorced. My mother was responsible for putting me in as many classes as possible, including music, art and ballet, which led to 10 years of dancing professionally, including dancing with The Alvin Ailey Dance Group.
How important was growing up in NYC to your creative process?
Growing up in a city like New York was such an important backdrop. The city transformed me and allowed me to grow and helped mold me into what I wanted to be. As I was developing my artistic voice, I started doing street art in the city and began producing music and DJing in NYC clubs as a teenager. There was such great comradery among artists in the city. Growing up in NYC also gave me the opportunity to skateboard throughout the city and see the many faces and complexities of such a diverse backdrop. It allowed me to explore the city in new ways and to see the architecture of the city in an entirely different way.
At 21, I moved to Venice Beach and the Marina del Rey area for almost 6 years. While there, I learned a lot about what I wanted to do and met a lot of great artists that played an integral part in helping me realize I needed to move back to NYC and fully pursue art full-time.
How would you describe your artwork?
I’m a multi-disciplinary artist. I work with multiple mediums, including acrylics, oils, metal, resin, and other materials that I continue to experiment with.
While in school, I found it very difficult to pay attention in class. When I was sixteen, I created notebooks filled with a language I created to speak with my friends in private. It all came about as a way to battle my ADD. I had no idea I would ultimately use these symbols in my art when I got older. And it wasn’t until I moved to the West Coast when the “Messages and Symbols Series” came to light. I’ve found that this new language resonated with people and it has become very important to me.
What is most challenging about being an artist?
The constant need to experiment and evolve through your work. Although there can be a lot of comradery, unfortunately, there’s also a lot of artist that have a sense of competition in the industry. I feel you should create and continue to pursue what’s inside your soul and not what others think you should pursue.
Do you think formal training is necessary for artists?
Formal training is essential for some artists. However, I feel formal training has hindered me more than helped me in my growth as an artist. I went to Horace Mann School in NYC and studied in its amazing AP art program, which helped push me to follow what I wanted to do, including experimenting with stencil work and doing late-night street art sessions.
I opted out of attending ArtCenter in Pasadena after graduating from high school. Although ArtCenter is a great institution, I think my growth as an artist has been nurtured more by what I’ve learned by watching other artists and by expressing myself through what I’ve taught myself as well as in the forged relationships I’ve formed.
Who or what are your main creative inspirations?
My main creative inspirations were introduced to me by my mom at a very young age. They included Keith Herring, Basquiat and Warhol. My inspiration comes from all of my experiences, especially the few years I spent traveling around the world with my parents. My travels and surroundings have greatly influenced my feelings of connectedness to all parts of the world. I’ve had opportunities to meet global artists and see new movements in art. I had the opportunity to do street art in Madrid, which had a profound effect on my work.
What are you working on now?
Without giving away too much, I’m currently working on a few different projects, which include mirrors and resin epoxy. I’m also working on curating shows and working with other emerging artists to get their shine on.
What would you tell your younger self?
Stay present in the moment and continue to believe in myself. I would remind myself that people will not always be comfortable in my confidence in my talent. I know what I love to do, and I know that not everybody does. There will be people that tell you, like they told me, you can’t do something because they don’t believe they can do it, or they don’t believe they can succeed in something they want to do. Put your blinders on and continue to push forward. There will be people to lift you up and believe in you and people that will doubt you because of their own insecurities. I would tell my younger self to keep creating and never stop experimenting with everything you do.
What are the best avenues for artists to gain exposure?
In this current social media time, Instagram and Vero are great avenues to connect with other artists and like-minded people. It’s also a way to connect with people that want to further your vision, including galleries and people that love your work.
I’ve taken a bit of a different approach to getting exposure for my work by doing popup exhibitions with a select group of artists.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Not to focus in on what other people are creating, painting or doing. Just focus on yourself. In 2019, social media can be very helpful yet also very hurtful. It can be very hard not to compare yourself to what other artists are doing. I think you should stop looking at what others are doing and look within yourself and do what you truly believe and just go for it.
by Theresa Majeed