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Artist Danny Minnick Addresses Global Warming in New Exhibition

Los Angeles artist explores relationship between man, animals, and the Earth in paintings.

Erica Riveraby Erica Rivera
Artwork: “The Melt” by Danny Minnick.

Most professional skateboarders wouldn’t see an injury as an opportunity, but that’s exactly what it was for Danny Minnick. The Los Angeles-based artist tore his Achilles in 2010 and couldn’t skate for two years. He put his energy into making art, honing a painting career that has led to solo and group shows of his work across the country. His collectors include celebrities including LeBron James, Michael Chow, and Retna.

Minnick’s latest exhibition, “Power to the Planet”, opens at De Re Gallery in Los Angeles on Feb. 16. Featuring over a dozen large-scale abstract oil creations — some of which began as pieces of his studio floor — Minnick explores the consequences of human behavior on the Earth and its animal inhabitants. Five percent of the sales from this show will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund and its polar bear habitation preservation efforts.

We asked Minnick about his signature style, the motivations behind the “Power to the Planet” exhibition, and his collaboration with Jessica Alba at The Honest Company.

Crave Online: What sort of work will you be showing at “Power to the Planet”? How is it different from what you’ve exhibited previously?

Photo: Danny Mannick in front of his painting "The Last Cowboy".

Photo: Danny Minnick in front of his painting “The Last Cowboy”.

Danny Minnick: I have a lot of energy to give. My characters have a lot of energy. Their energy is from the planet and their energy is for the planet. The show is really amazing because where I’m at with my art is: every day, it’s a progression of the work. With this show, what’s different from my last show is the work is a lot bigger and stronger.

How do politics influence this exhibition?

Politics? I don’t know. I just paint things. Visual art is a platform, I guess, a platform for helping the planet to get more aware of what’s going on. As artists, I think that’s our right to mark our time on this planet. If your work is strong enough, it will be around forever.

What really resonates with me is the Carrie Fisher quote: “Take your broken heart and make it into art.”

Is the environment an important issue for you? Don’t you address global warming in your art?

Yeah. I’m an animal lover. The extinction of any animal is sad to me. Even the bees. It’s like [Carl Jung’s] the shadow of man. Why is all this happening? Because of someone power-trippin’.

Also: The Future Is Now | A Plant-Based Diet Can Help Save the Planet

You seem to like bold, bright colors. What’s behind that?

I love bright colors because you don’t get to see bold colors enough, especially if you’re in New York, everyone’s just wearing black. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, there were brighter colors, bright effects. Now, everything’s so dark. Everything’s black or white, which is cool, that’s the way of the world, but I like bright colors. As a kid, I was always watching cartoons. Cartoons always make me happy. So therefore I like bright colors. They’re kind of like a feeling more than a color.

When you paint humans, they’re skeletons. Why is that?

It’s unconscious. Everyone has their character. My characters are about energy.

How many paintings total will be in the exhibition?

Fifteen to 18. A lot of the pieces are my studio floor that I painted and cut out. The energy of all those people who came to my studio, all my amazing friends and artists, their energy is in there, too. It’s pretty cool.

Photo: Danny Mannick and Jessica Alba.

Photo: Danny Minnick and Jessica Alba.

You recently painted a mural at The Honest Company. How did that come about?

That was super-cool. Jessica is a big fan of my work. It was a spiritual collaboration. It was really weird, too, because I picked out the colors and I didn’t realize those were the Honest colors when I went there to paint. I had no idea.

How would you describe the art community in Los Angeles?

I love the art community here. The art community’s really cool. A lot of friends have each other’s backs out here.