“Art is everywhere…”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Martin Dansky
Zimmerman: How did you get interested in art?
Martin Dansky: I developed a sense of needing to visually record elements of my life in the classical sense and then in a figurative or abstract one. I was enthralled by my dad’s drawings and the ease he had when drawing cars. It started too with the paint by number series. Who doesn’t remember the sad clown portrait? Soon the joy of putting the brush to canvas has fueled the passion of expressing myself in painting as though I were creating a visual story of how I have been nurtured or influenced over the years. Each painting is part of a greater whole and each one has occurred through fantasizing of how I could go beyond the accepted techniques. I have also made a point of photographing life around me and using those stills to instill the creative nature within. And my travels to Europe and the Middle East furthered my creative pallet.
PZ: What is the most challenging aspect of painting?
MD: The most challenging aspect would be starting afresh on a white canvas and also continuing on a theme without be redundant. I like to think that my art is original and that it stays that way, so to come up continually with a new perspective in an abstract painting can be quite demanding.
PZ: What is my artistic process? How do I create my paintings?
MD: I am afraid I am not an open book as perhaps other artists might be and that is an aspect of my personality that I hold dear. To give away secrets away is not my style, yet I have shared my views on what stimulates me to paint and what I look forward to in expressing my art. It is like writing a book, I think a trained novelist is not going to give away his theme until his work is complete and like a novelist, I cherish the aha moments of creativity when I realize that painting something may open the door to a new line of creativity. So when I create my paintings it is with that thought in mind.
MD: I am not someone who will say that just allowing the hand to do the work without any thought will get me through to completing something pleasant and enduring. But I have appreciated advice about not getting too much in the head, allowing oneself to try different color combinations or strokes endless times so there is always a certain vitality in work that I exhibit.
PZ: Do I have a new goal in mind when I start a new piece?
MD: Yes I do. Sometimes I try to extend my vision from a previous work. I like the viewer to see that here is how the artist’s mind has travelled. I may give myself a theme like having had a spiritual one in the early part of the last decade, or having seeing a fresh multidimensional way of seeing a pyramid as I had early in this current series
PZ: How do I know when a painting is finished?
MD: I ask my painting if it is finished or if it would still like to continue! No seriously I usually start with a certain template that my paintings have to fill and once that is done adding additional elements would only clutter the work. A painting has to be balanced, that there is a sufficient content and contrast and I do check to see that that is so before I can put the paint brush down.
PZ: Has my practice changed over time?
MD: Yes it certainly has. I thought that for example between the mid-nineties and now I can see that my renditions have opened up somewhat and are not as dense as they were. It was a matter of time when I decided that I had enough of a certain style and wanted to move on.
PZ: Which artists am I most influenced by?
MD: I have been influenced by some of the great names in modern art like many other artists of the 21st century and my attitude is to allow myself to be continually influenced so that there is an endless supply of ideas that I can work with. Cezanne, Chagall and Rousseau are but a few of those I have emulated most. And then there is Escher whose work prompted me to try something with curiously intricate, multiple perspectives.
PZ: How would I define art?
MD: This is a huge question to tackle in any interview, I think. Like defining culture, there are endless viewpoints that I am aware of, suffice it to say I think it is the product of being able to express oneself creatively through the various media and techniques. Art is everywhere and I have chosen a tangible form of painting on canvas to express it. Art can begin with a thought or a whim and work its way into a masterpiece, if you’re lucky. A richer piece of art, in my view, would likely be more refined and a poorer piece of art, less so.
PZ: What am I working on now?
MD: I am still working on a multidimensional series that has softened in the past two years, in that prior to 2020 I thought that straighter geometrical elements should inhabit my paintings whereas today I am looking to use more fluid forms that populate them.
PZ: How has the pandemic affected and influenced my sensibility?
MD: I take the pandemic as being a part of life, there have been pandemics in the past and there will be more in the future so it is useless for me to get depressed about that or lose my creative urge. I think that I should still respond positively to my surroundings when it comes to being influenced by new stimuli and that I should still entertain the desire to grow and acquire new ways to express myself along the way.