Through a realist oil painting style punctuated against vibrant graphic elements, my art explores our perception of the memories and mass cultural imagery that endure in our subconscious over time. I present it to the viewer as something with an accumulative story, often personified beyond its original aesthetic form. For as far back as I can remember, art has been a rabbit hole for my mind to escape down into. My comic books, a platoon of toys, and drawing pads were the fodder and conduit for me to create my own otherworldly stories of exploration and adventure. My current work revisits and reanimates those original themes and muses, and is additionally informed by over a decade of working in advertising. Inspired by old hand-painted signage, the pieces are constructed out of wood and steel, and often incorporate handcrafted elements that take the work beyond the traditional rectangle and singular 2D plane. The realistically painted objects and fragmented graphic elements in my paintings combine to create a harmony and dissonance that both dances with nostalgia and hints at something more subversive. Ordinary objects and commercial imagery, like a plastic toy soldier or can of Dr. Pepper, may be peripheral elements of how we think of the past or present—however we subconsciously attach meaning and significance to them. In doing so we give them the power to trigger memories, evoke feelings, and shape our perspectives as we continue to explore and question the world around us. My work presents a sliver of that simultaneously familiar and ambiguous journey and leaves space for the viewer to add on to the adventure.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jimmy Danko grew up on the outskirts of the city, where suburbs met farmland. At an early age, art was as much a catalyst for his imagination as was exploring the woods and fields that surrounded his childhood home. The desire to create took him to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where he received his BFA, and first unearthed his love for painting. In the years that followed, he worked as a graphic designer by day but remained committed to pushing his painting forward. As his creative skills evolved so did his yearning to explore. Over the course of 14 years, his life path took him from the San Diego surf to the Buenos Aires, Argentina streets where he began to propagate his trademark Gorilla around the city. After four years in South America, he made his way back to the U.S. and took up residence in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District where he spent four years further honing his craft and zeroing in on his artistic voice. Today, Jimmy works out his studio in Portland, Oregon. His art explores the perception of memories and mass cultural imagery through a realist oil painting style juxtaposed against vibrant graphic elements. Often constructing his art and canvases with wood and steel, he finds as much joy in building his pieces as he does painting them.