“I love the trance state I get into when I’m painting.” Artist of the Week: Danni Emery
Inspired by a visit to markets in Melbourne five years ago, Danni Emery explains how her incredibly compact and special art form was initially conceived.
When we think of art many of us think immediately of conventional forms like a sculpture, a sketch, or a canvas. Danni Emery’s paintings break through these traditions by using small, vintage tins containing figures in a setting.
When thinking back to her initial curiosities into the art world, Danni recalled art always been a time for meditation: “My mum spent a lot of time doing crafts with me as a kid, but I’ve always had patience for this kind of thing and always felt magnetically drawn to art shops and the smell of paint. I love the trance state I get into when I’m painting.”
Studying a foundation course at Central St. Martins, she found herself attracted to the problem-solving, fast turn-around nature of advertising as part of the Graphic Design course. Although this facilitated a career as a Creative in advertising for 14 years, Danni was motivated artistically to take her own interpretation of realism.
“At the moment I feel like art is life is art”
“I remember my art teachers at school always trying to draw me out of my obsession with making my work perfectly ‘real’, as that was seen as boring. But I feel that I’ve found a medium that allows me to use my realistic painting skills in a way that isn’t.”
It was a trip to the Camberwell Markets to visit her friend in Melbourne five years ago which inspired her to take up old tins as her new canvas: “I was also nattering to her about wanting to start painting again, and also pondering what to do with some tiny cyclists I had bought to turn into jewellery but found that they were too delicate. Clare shook up the three disparate ingredients into the wonderful cocktail that is Tinny!”
“I love how people don’t know what it is before they open it”
Danni discussed how Tinny is her passion in life. In between working for a sauna, as a face painting artist, and running a walkabout performance troupe called ‘The Insecurity Guards’ she co-founded, she still finds the time for her small figure and tin paintings.
Working mainly on a commission basis, Danni has collected hundreds of tins ever since her market visit. Her attention to detail is epitomised through her creations: “I love how people don’t know what it is before they open it, and they are so surprised when they do! A tiny scene from their life inside. Wow. That must be cool to receive.”
“I love the trance state I get into when I’m painting…”
When asked what makes her work so unique, Danni said she loved the personalised aspects and the stories behind each piece: “I think the fact they can be so specific – that the little people can be so carefully curated to look exactly like a person’s family… and if the tin related to the scene inside, even better.”
After living in Austraila, Danni decided to move to Brighton after following a desire to live by the sea among a strong art scene: “I’ve always wanted to live somewhere smaller and friendlier than London, but with a good art scene. I feel like I was looking for a good home for Tinny primarily, myself secondary.”
When she’s not painting or working multiple jobs, Danni enjoys running, taking photos of clouds and Brighton’s beautiful sealine, travelling the world, and going to festivals: “At the moment I feel like art is life is art, so I don’t really feel like I have spare time as such.”