I have been following Danny Brito on twitter for several months and not only is he an amazingly creative artist, he is hilarious. His art really inspired me to do something different with my students this spring.
I emailed Danny to find out if he would be willing to answer some interview questions so that I could teach my students about being a young, thriving artist. His answers are both insightful and sweet.
I am going to teach my students to draw a Polaroid self-portrait in Danny's style...I think they will really appreciate doing a modern, hip self-portrait, at least I hope they will like it! I will share some of their work with you soon!!
Here is his interview and his beautiful drawings. Be sure to check out his website, and order a custom Polaroid drawing!! I am going to order one as an anniversary gift this summer!! It will be beautiful!
DANNY: First of all, as I was a student once of course, I loved when art teachers went the extra mile! so I'm really, really glad you've asked me to be a part of molding some little kids skills and I'm happy to do it.
1. How long have you considered yourself an artist? Did you ever see yourself doing anything else?
I have basically always been "arty" but I'd say when I got into highschool I really decided that Art would be my career. Not that I was bad at Math or English, I just wasn't exactly interested in anything else.
2. Have you been drawing/creating art since you were a kid? Have you always been 'good' at art?
Yeah I have been drawing and creating since I was a kid. My first memory is probably drawing birthday cards for my mom. I don't think I've always been "good" at it, I used to draw hands with all 5 fingers in a row, like a hair comb. My younger cousins ask me how I got to where I am today, and I just tell them to draw everyday.
3. How old are you?
I'm 23 years old
I just started that this year, in January. I had a New Years resolution about starting a new project, and in brainstorming I came up with the idea.
5. Where did you get the idea?
I wanted to offer commissioned drawings that were affordable, which ofcourse means they have to be small. But who wants a tiny drawing on their wall, so I thought of small art and then that lead me to photography. I like to take photos in my free time, and that includes polaroids. So I cut out the middle of a polaroid and held it up to one of my drawings, and that's where the basic idea of it came from.
6. Is it hard (stressful) being an artist? Are you a full-time artist or do you have another job too?
It is quite stressful at times, because being an artist is my only job. So it's all about managing my time right, making the right contacts, and making sure my name and my art are current and are out in the open for people to see. The internet helps, keeping a blog lets people from around the world see my work.
7. Where do you get inspiration when you find yourself in a creative slump?
I love fashion, I find that editorials always help me when I'm in a slump. I also love watching animated movies, adventure/fantasy type movies, or movies set in the 1950s.
8. Do you have a sketchbook? If so, how does your sketchbook help you as an artist?
Personally, I don't sketch that often, and if I do it's kind of really rough lines and probably wouldn't make sense to anyone but me. I like to sketch really scribbly, most of the times I like to write ideas down in my sketchbook about future drawings.
9. Do you ever have to create art that you wouldn't normally choose to make, just to 'pay the bills'?
I don't think anything I've done so far has been something that I wouldn't do on my own. Sometimes when I'm commissioned to do drawings, they want something really specific, but they kind of leave the style of the drawing up to me. At the end of the day, if I have to change how my art looks for someone else, It's not what I got into this for, so I probably wouldn't go through with it.
10. Did you take art in elementary or high school? Do you have any formal training as an artist or a degree in art?
I took all the art classes my highschool had to offer, I ended up in the last course they had which was Advance Placement Art. I started going to university for art in Sarasota, Fl but I took a break. I really felt like I needed to find my own style and teach my self for a little while. But I'm going back to school this year, I think it's really important for every artist to be taught and earn degrees.
11. What kind of colored pencils do you use?
I mainly use Prismacolor pencils, but I'm not a snob. I've got other brands in my art box. Brands like prang, crayola, and coloursoft.
I'd say practice, definitely practice. The way I blend colors and what not has all came from practicing different styles. Experiment with different mediums too, I used to paint alot but I found that I'm more confidant with colored pencils, I find that I have more control with them and I can get more detail.
13. Do you do any practice sketches before the final 'polaroid'? Would you share some of your preliminary sketches? Would you share a before and after....a pencil sketch and a finished Polaroid portrait?
I don't really sketch, sorry. so I can't offer you any pictures of that.
14. Do you have any advice for a kid that loves art and is interested in becoming an artist?
Like I said before, "Practice!" I tell this to my younger cousins all the time. Be involved in the Art world, ask you parents to take you to Museums, see amazing paintings and amazing sculptures to get your self inspired. Get involved at school, when an art project comes around, don't pass it off... try to do your best on it!
15. What could a 10-year-old do to be a better artist?
Definitely draw things you see, a lot of younger people tend to draw things from magazines. It helps more to draw things in life, as your parents or a friend to pose for you. Focus on their facial featrures, everyone has eyes but everyone has different eyes. Drawing from life will help you see that. I'd also say you should draw all the time, when all your homework is done and you've got some free time, draw!
16. What is your favorite thing to draw? Do you ever paint or sculpt?
I'd say I love to draw cute things, like girls in dresses or a cloudy sky. But I also love drawing green monsters and creepy things. I do dabble in painting, I haven't gotten to do much painting so far this year, but it's very fun. I haven't sculpted since highschool, but i'd actually really love to get into it again.
Danny, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!!
You can read another beautiful interview with Danny here.
To see more of his work and photos from his latest show check out this gallery.
Ooh, check back in a few weeks to see what my students come up with using inspiration from Danny's work!! I am so excited!!