"Art is not just art, music is not just music. I believe there is divine truth hidden somewhere within it.
What is my divine truth? I guess only time will tell, but I'm not gonna just sit around and wait. All I can do is pick up my pencil and start drawing..."
This is something I wrote in my sketchbook back when I was in high school, right around the time I was becoming serious about devoting my life to art. I don't know if I'd quite call it "divine truth," but here's a bit on what I've discovered about my own artistic journey.
Danny Kang is a New York based artist who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Film/Animation/Video. His work spans animation, illustration and video work for PBS, Autodesk, Virginia Tech and NBCUniversal.
You see, when you draw you begin with an empty canvas - an open ended choice - and proceed by constantly deciding where to put the next mark on your paper. Whether it's conscious or subconscious, the answers to these questions unveils a bit about who you are in the moment that you made them. In fact, it's a fundamental idea in calligraphy that the nature of your lines reveals the emotional and spiritual state you were in the instant you made them. In other words, your drawings are a mirror that reflects who you are.
But as you keep drawing, you will inevitably improve. So as you continue to work on improving your drawings, you are also working on improving YOURSELF. As your drawings become more refined and mature, so will you. You'll have learned more about the world and how to see it, analyze it, process it. You'll be better at taking in information and reorganizing it with your creativity and critical thinking to create something unique and individual that only you could have made.
During the course of my artistic journey, I've been going back and forth between illustration and animation. In many ways, I see them as brother and sister disciplines - similar yet also fundamentally different. I love rendering the beauty of details in paintings, but animation speaks in the language of efficiency so it can tell longer stories. And for years the pragmatics of these differences forced me to separate the two. My animated illustrations are a way for me to encapsulate who I am as an artist by combining what I love from each medium.
There's a word in Japanese called "Mugen" (むげん) that when written as "zero - end (無限)" means infinite or limitless. But it also has another reading when written as "dream - apparition (夢幻)" to mean dreams, fantasies, or visions. By looping each animated piece, I extract a moment of time - an ephemeral vision - and stretch it out into eternity. By animating the details of a painting, I bring more attention to it. And each piece exercises the efficiency of storytelling in the most brutal sense of the word - cutting out all of the fat and communicating the intended emotions in as little time as possible - which in turn makes the the time it takes to create each piece manageable. From sketching to illustrations to animated illustrations, the time range is controlled so that there is a constant influx of new creative impulses. Each piece is a catalogued stamp in my daily journal of day dreams and nightmares - each drawing a reflection of the self in that moment.
So in the end, I just try to be honest with myself every day and draw the things I love - from developing original characters and stories to fan art homages of the things that inspire me, things I grew up with or the latest show I'm obsessed with. I'm fascinated with philosophy, spirituality and meditation as well as science, science fiction and the nature of what makes us human. I like to capture fleeting moments and bring attention to details that would otherwise disappear unnoticed.
I hope to show the world some of the beauty that I see in it and some of the worlds that are inside of me. And in appreciation for how much other people's art has inspired me, maybe one day my work can excite or influence someone else out there. But I'm not gonna just sit around and wait. All I can do is pick up my pencil and start drawing...