Danny Sangra on his new LA exhibition ‘Yeah Sure Real Mature’
Danny Sangra has a new solo exhibition opening in Los Angeles on 1 June. Called ‘Yeah Sure Real Mature’, it’s been put together with the help of Alldayeveryday and curated by ARKITIP.
While Danny works across media including film, photography, and writing, this exhibition focuses on his use of ink illustration on images found in old magazines.
Danny, of course, works across any number of media including film, illustration writing and photography. This exhibition focuses on his use of appropriated and repurposed content, specifically drawing over old magazine images. And it’s only fair to warn you, some of those magazines were aimed at an adult audience.
We asked Danny about this aspect of his work, and how the exhibition came about:
How did you begin adding your illustrations to old magazine imagery?
I’ve always done it. I grew up spending most of my weekends in my parents’ hair salons. There wasn’t a great deal to do other than sweep hair and draw on the hair and beauty magazines. I suppose even to this day I prefer working over a pre-existing image and turning it into something personal.
As I got older I preferred the colours and the style of older magazines to anything modern day.
Do you have a particular type of magazine you favour?
70s/80s soft porn magazines. Typically French or Scandinavian.
What attracts you to a specific magazine image?
Usually there’s something I can bounce off, or it might be just a particular colour that you get in vintage printed material. It’s always kind of washed out.
Where do you find the magazines?
All over. I tend to travel a lot so wherever I am I find vintage book shops and markets.
I’ve always found good stuff in Finland and Paris. For the past few years friends, and even their parents, have given me books and magazines.
Did you have it in mind to exhibit them together, or is this a sampling of your work over the years?
I hadn’t thought about doing another show. My last solo show was six years ago, just as I became more serious about directing.
I was just making pieces when I was in between projects or when I was editing. Then I’d just take a photo while it was on my desk and post it on Instagram. No retouching just raw.
Most of it was done after I finished commercial projects and so having this allowed me to be totally free with the ideas I wanted to express.
Should we search for hidden meanings in the words and phrases you use in the pieces?
There are some bits that are coded pretty heavily and some that are instantly understandable. Most my time these days is spent writing scripts. However, this allows me to use the writing as a shape form and as an element to balance out an image.
Is there an intention to shock with some of the images you select?
No. I don’t think I pick out stuff that’s too heavy considering what’s out there these days. For me, if anything is more shocking, it’s possibly the writing.
I hate things just out for shock value. My work is more personal.
How did the exhibition come about?
I realised I had a drawer full of work that had only been seen by friends or on the internet. Arkitip are people I’ve always admired and we have mutual friends so they knew my work.
We bounced around an idea of doing a show for a while. Then I spoke to Alldayeveryday (who rep me in the US as a director). They thought it would be a good idea to be able to show that I am not just a director.
Why Los Angeles?
Arkitip are based out here and the Alldayeveryday DTLA space is ideal.
Personally though, I have never shown work in LA and I’ve been spending more and more time here. It just made sense.
Plus, when I premiered my debut feature film here last year, I loved the idea of coming back, but this time showing artwork.
Have you worked with Alldayeveryday and Arkitip before?
Alldayeveryday rep me as a director on the east and west coast. So we’ve worked together on commercials and short films. However never in an art capacity.
This is the first time I’ve worked with Arkitip, even though I know them pretty well.
What do you have planned next?
We might take the show to another city or country, but I’m undecided. Other than that I have a few short films and commercials coming out over the next few months.
I’m not very good at sitting still.
‘Yeah Sure Real Mature’ will run from 1-4 June 2017 at Alldayeveryday Space, 2028 East 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021