Meeting The Man.

"In May of 1986 I began painting like a child. It has since taken me many years and pains and losses to reach creative innocence. What comes so easily to the young is a daunting distance from our adult lives."

Asking Danny about his life is like asking a child for the truth, you never know what to make of what you hear. His past is full of ribald tales and poignant stories, mixed with a dose of amusement at his own persistent shortcomings.

"I know Danny Owens real well, and I have to tell you I'm not impressed," he'll quip. "But Danny the soul, spirit, inner being, or whatever you want to call it — the child of God — well that's a beautiful and perfect part of all of us."

So who is this man, this painter? What drove him to pull hard on the wheel of his life and change direction so abruptly, to pursue art with such abandon?

There's no easy answer there, not for the outsider looking in, and not for the man himself apparently. Or perhaps the answer is so easy that it defies explanation. "I'm a living energy, as we all are. We judge each other by what we see on the outside, what the person has done or made or is worth. We judge them by how they make us feel and how well they fit into our version of the world. But in the end, at the simplest level, we're all living energy, we all have the same core, we were all pure at birth and all carry that purity within us still."

"We spend enormous amounts of energy, pretty much our whole time on earth, to cover over our tender inner being. We start early, right away even, helped by the constant instruction of all we encounter. By the time we're wise enough to see past the veil, to see that in fact we may be caught up in our own self-reflection, well then it's just too late to do a whole lot about it."

When Danny first shared with me this philosophy I think I must have nodded knowingly in such an unconvincing manner that he laughed for a good minute.
"You can't just agree on this point, you've got to get in there and live it. No matter how obvious it is intellectually, I know words alone won't get you there. So here, let me paint you a picture."

And so he did, and does still, and has done for decades.



Artist Danny Owens opens his one-man show of what he terms as "jazzy improvisational" art. April 30 - May 5 in D'Art's Hoblitzelle Hall gallery. The opening reception for this exhibit is Thursday April 30, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

What you see when you look at Danny Owens' painting is definitely not reality... as we know it. He says that his subjects are non-existent until he paints them. The series of 40 paintings is called "the Journey of Candide." Owen's descriptions of his artwork may sound a bit cryptic, but it's simply because he feels that there is no absolute definition of art. The content of his paintings are non-symbolic, non-representational landscapes. He says that he uses the same elements found in representational landscapes – he just moves them around.
After a long career in publishing, Owens decided it was time to pursue his painting in earnest. He enthusiastically says that, "Painting totally consumes me." His tip for patrons observing his art is: "The best way to view my art is to stand 100 miles away with a real good pair of binoculars."

Though his approach has matured and technique intensified, his original philosophy remains intact.

Sanction thyself said the painter
to the poet to the actor
and the thinker on the hill.
Roll away thine own stone
and buck up alone
as you trudge and nudge
up your hill.

-Owens '06