Danny Minnick is in a State of Flow
Written by: Leif Meneke
Danny Minnick, the professional skater turned painter/actor, is always in motion. Listening to Waiting for the Sun by the Doors through a set of gold and white Beats headphones, Danny moves through his space applying paint to one partially completed canvas then another, then another. To watch him work is to have a sense of flow – that state of being completely absorbed in, or at one with, whatever one is doing. His dance of creation is impressive to witness.
Danny has become a darling of the art world with solo shows in London, LA, Miami, and New York City. His bold, colorful, whimsical works are collected by Jessica Alba, LeBron James, and Gus Van Sant to name a few. I sat down briefly with Danny in his studio on West 36th Street in NYC (one of two he works out of here) where we talked about art, his painting career, and his evolution as an artist.
Leif: You focused on painting after a skateboarding accident?
Danny: Yeah. I tore my Achilles. I couldn’t skate for 2 years. That’s when a dear friend of mine was like ‘you should paint.’ So, I painted a couple of paintings and I really enjoyed [it] cause I couldn’t skate at the time. I had a lot of energy and I had to get it out some way.
Leif: What does your art mean to you?
Danny: It’s my life. It’s everything; all the experiences and emotions and relationships, family issues, whatever it all is, it’s all that coming out into your work and that’s what the work is about. Some days I wanna paint super intense, some days I wanna paint super mellow because of my attitude that day.
Danny: I try to stay out of my head. It’s the last place I wanna be. I wanna be in the moment, feeling what I feel, seeing what I see, whatever is going through me and expressing into [the canvas] … once you get in your head, you’ll start to be like, ‘will people like it?’ ‘Is it good?’ ‘Is it bad?’ That will devour your talent and your state of being. It doesn’t work for me.
Leif: I’m always amazed when people are able to crossover into different careers. You’ve been a pro skateboarder, a painter, an actor …
Danny: I’ve even been a cinematographer … it wasn’t planned, like ‘okay, now I’m gonna skate, now I’m going to paint.’ Every artist should evolve. If you get stuck, that’s the worst feeling. If you’re really doing the work, it will evolve. I love when the universe gives you these things and you gotta walk through the door. Every door that opens I walk through it. If you don’t walk through it, how do you know? Most people don’t walk through the door because of fear. What is fear? It’s a four letter word. Why are you scared of a four letter word?
Answer: Like anything else in the world, I need to break it down. Who are my favorite actors? Who did they study with? Who are [their] master teachers? I found out who they were and I studied with them. I wanted to learn that craft. I didn’t want to be a star. I wanted to learn the work because the work is the most important thing. Everyone wants to be a star, a celebrity, and don’t wanna do the work. Do the work. The work is the most important thing.
Leif: Who inspires you today?