(Via Voxfire Gallery)
When we heard that Shann Larsson and Danny The G(r)eek were collaborating and saw a sneak peek, we were VERY excited to say the least. Shann Larsson has been published in multiple underground art magazines and has her work shared around the web. She is a mixed media artist that does painting and drawing, but also uses photo manipulation (a fav of ours).
Danny describes himself as a Hong Kong based artist with a love for Star Wars and tattoos. His work is bright and eye-catching with a hint of sinister elements and he has done a lot of work for local bands in Hong Kong including Dude Law and Shotgun Politics. TMB took a moment to sit back and admire all their hard work at Voxfire Gallery and find out more about the exhibition.
How come you guys decided to collaborate? Tell us how and what happened.
S: I’ve known Danny for a few years now, about 5 years or so. We’re both passionate about creating art and have been doing so ourselves for years now. There had been countless times where we’d discussed the prospects of doing a joint show. Our styles and subject matter we felt would contrast nicely, and it would be fun. Voxfire Gallery approached us about this and we were more than happy to finally have the opportunity to do so! This definitely isn’t exclusive; there’ll be more collaboration to come.
Who decided to call the exhibition Beautiful Decay and what was the reasoning behind that?
D: Shann and I came up with the idea of a natural order rapidly decaying and being overtaken by man’s inventions. We were mostly basing our idea on our strengths. For example, Shann is more inclined to create works that are darker and slightly morbid (well, I think anyway). As I am more comfortable painting happy rainbow vibes, sort of like a gay nightclub on acid.
S: ‘Beautiful Decay’ was a suggestion I made, based on an old website I had. The theme of beautiful decay seemed very appropriate for our contrasts in styles (not to say directly that one of us represents beauty, and one decay but more so that we explored elements between the two in our works).
Shann, I’ve seen your work before and it tends to be very dark and powerful. How as an artist do you find your own individual style?
S: I don’t think there really is a rulebook on that one, it’s something that just grows with you. We’re all like sponges – all the subconscious elements that you’ve absorbed over time (from events, people, sounds, feelings – anything) build up in you like a library and you bleed these out on paper, canvas, walls, music, you name it -things that indirectly influence you. This can directly or indirectly take form in your artwork. A lot of things are perceived in black and white terms, I guess my work attempts to explore the fine line between the two. Fragility and power. Beauty and decay. Life and death etc. As Danny put it for the show, you cannot have light without darkness.
Danny, your work uses a lot of lighter colors, including everyday objects. How would you say you found your individual style as an artist?
D: I have always been drawn to extremely bright and colorful work. I dabbled for quite a while trying different things until I found that using everyday objects and playing with the colors, I could end up with something I was satisfied with. When I paint, half of the idea is already in the research stage and images have already been found and saved for reference. However, just like in any creative process new ideas emerge and it opens the canvas up to a more interesting overall feel.
You guys both did one piece together. What was the most challenging part of working together on one canvas?
S: Staying awake. No joke. We’d painted that canvas for hours and hours straight till our hands felt like they could fall off.
D: Haha, well it was a 12+ hour day/night/morning spent at my living room rushing and cramming ideas onto the canvas at first, then we eventually passed the piece back and forth a few times for finishing touches
S: As we developed it, we’d come up with hilarious reasoning and stories of what it represents. In all seriousness though, it was one of the central figures of the show. The heart is what stemmed out to each of our series.
D: As for creative control/who does what… there were no real challenges. I found that we worked together quite well. I think Shann and I have been doing art for a similar amount of time and we both very much respect each other’s talents. I had a lot of fun collaborating with her.
S: The only mission was finding the time for us both to collaborate. We started it off together, then I took it home to work on and then Danny did.
What is your favorite piece out of the whole exhibition?
S: Individually? From Danny’s I love Disciplines and Deathless. I love the elements he included in these and how meticulously he painted them. From my own work, my first piece, ‘Paint the Roses Dead.’ It branches out a lot from personal works outside of Beautiful Decay.
D: Hmmm, hard to say. If I had to choose one at gunpoint, I’d say ‘Nest’ by Shann. The piece that features three bird skulls. I saw her working on it a little as well and it’s a fantastic piece. There is a beautiful subtle texture inside the skulls and the detail is stunning.
Shann, I know you’ve studied art and are still doing a course at the moment. How did you know art was something you wanted to make a career out of?
S: I’ve just started the second academic year at SCAD Hong Kong, working on a major in graphic design to expand on my technical skills. I don’t think I’ve ever really known that I wanted to make a career out of art. It’s just been there, something I loved and shared, something I found myself excelling in. I remember days when I’d visit exhibitions and people would ask me when I’d have one, knowing my love of art and that I produced masses of it. I remember saying that would probably never happen in Hong Kong. I’m happy I’ve proved myself wrong.
Danny, I know you’ve helped local bands with album covers and gig posters before. How did you know art was something you wanted to make a career out of?
D: Yeah I’ve done some work for local bands, and am currently working on a few things for more local bands as well. That is one of my favorite things to do. They are usually friends and they don’t really question my style or approach to what I make. I have almost complete creative control. I have always loved drawing/painting even at a young age. I never thought of doing anything else. As I grew older I realized that making a career out of art is very difficult and you need to learn to balance real life and creating dumb little pictures for people for a few extra bucks. But it is very worth it just to know you are doing what you love and feel you are meant to do.
What advice would you both give to young guys and gals looking to get into art or to aspiring artists?
D: It’s a trap! Haha no, I say follow your desire, if you feel you are being called to create art for a living then give it everything you got.
S: Yeah – keep making art, no matter what. Do what you love, find your own voice. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Don’t count on people to dictate where you go.
D: You should expect eating cup noodles and borrowing money from your mom from time to time but if you love it, then you will feel proud when something happens with your art. Feeling proud of yourself and what you have created is an incomparable feeling.
S: People will support you or they will discourage you. I’ve heard the best and the worst from both side.At the end of the day, you are the only one in control of yourself and your art so keep moving forward, don’t stop, don’t doubt, just do it. Keep making art.
Danny, describe Shann’s work at the beautiful decay exhibition in 3 words.
D: Mature. Decadent. Raw
Shann, describe Danny’s work at the beautiful decay exhibition in 3 words.
S: In only three words – I’d say colourful, vibrant, pop art with movement. That’s four and a bit but never mind!
The exhibition runs until 10th November, so check out their work at Voxfire Gallery on Aberdeen St., Central. You can also contact the gallery if you are interested in purchasing some of their work. If you want to see more of the artists work, then check out Danny’s Tumblr or like him on Facebook. You can also check out Shann’s site and like her on Facebook too. Check out their work below and tell us what you think!
Danny and Shann’s collaborative piece (via @Voxfire Gallery)
Shann Larsson’s Paint The Roses Dead (Via Voxfire Gallery)
Danny The G(r)eek’s Disciplines (Via Voxfire Gallery)