Gym Standard
Dane Danner

The Artist — Fueled by the dirty, high-distortion sounds of old reverb amps and late 80s grunge, Dane spent his youth shredding cement and sea; skating, surfing and drawing all along the way. Loaded with raw talent, he honed his craft at Laguna College of Art and Design, receiving his BFA in illustration. Dane has since lent his skills to the design industry, while continuing to drive his inner ambitions, shaping surfboards and rebuilding classic rides.

The Show — Dane pulls from all the things he loves: skating, surfing, old cars and low-brow hijinks. Join us Saturday, July 20th, at 6pm for an awesome night of gnarly art and chilled brews. The night also marks the grand opening of Gym Standard, a carefully curated footwear and design goods headquarters. With his taste for decay, carnage and face-melting illustrated antics, Dane will be the first in a series of curated artist installments to grace the shop walls.

Music by Question (Analogue Studies) and Scott Jones (Creepxotica). No twerking allowed (before 9).

Saturday, July 20th from 6–10pm. 2903 El Cajon Blvd STE 2, San Diego, CA (Map)
July 20, 6PM
“The finest things in this world are hand made.” Dane Danner

A Chat
With Dane

Interview by Edwin Negado

When and how did you discover your skill for drawing and illustration and how has growing up in San Diego influenced the subject matter of your work?

My dad would give me these pullback cars that he had taken apart and custom painted with Testors model paint. He usually did flames... I wanted flames on my Cub Scouts Pine Durby car one year and my dad probably felt like if he did the flames on my car then it would look like he built the project for me. So he simply told me to do it myself, I did... using markers of course.

San Diego is really all I know. I have visited and lived in other places but the Pacific Ocean has always been a large part of my life. You can be in the water all year long in San Diego and my friends really pushed me to take advantage. I fished, dove, surfed and swam as much as I could. However, growing up inland (El Cajon) helped cultivate my love for skateboarding and cars. Someone always had a hotrod project going on in the garage. My parents kept their cars for a long time. By the time they handed over the keys to my 71 VW Squareback... it was already a classic. I guess that's when the love affair for old cars, San Diego, surfing and skateboarding got mixed into my artwork.

Can you describe your illustration style? After learning your process, I always feel that there are a few gems hiding within the multiples layers that go in to each finished piece.

Well a painting is never finished, you can always add detail and push harder in your color theory... that's why I do drawings! My drawings are actually under-paintings. I don't really have time to paint. If I did... I would start with a really tight drawing. I draw everything at least 4 times. I'll sketch out the idea, do a trace over to find my lines or fix the perspective, trace again in ink as clean as I can for vector artwork then ink my final piece. I really don't like guess work when I finally sit down and do my final rendering, because I am focused on making the lines as clean as I can.

“I draw everything at least 4 times... I really don't like guess work when I finally sit down and do my final rendering, because I am focused on making the lines as clean as I can.”

You've been working with the guys from Yeller for quite some time now. How did this relationship begin?

Don Hollis took a chance on hiring me for his firm Hollis Brand Culture after seeing my AIGA profile. He saved me from working as a designer (desktop publisher) at a Commercial Realty Firm. That's where I met the talented Yeller member Tyler Cristobal. When Tyler designs on a computer it looks like he's playing concert piano! I struggled at Hollis because I wasn't ready for the real world of design and was super intimidated... but I also learned a ton. Don and Tyler quickly realized I could draw and helped me along while giving me illustration tasks. I'm a bigger person now because of the experience. Naturally any friend of Tyler is a friend of Yeller... so he (along with Clarke Forrest & Michael Tussey) gave me an opportunity to have a solo show at Bottlecraft. I look up to all the members of Yeller... their guidance is priceless. One other thing I want to say is that at Hollis I was always exposed to new artwork because they share a space with subtext. Subtext always has these great group shows and new art would come in the mail everyday leading up to a show. I was able to see the level of finish and felt I could compete. The plan was to sneak a piece into one of these group shows... just to see if I could measure up. I regret never trying to do that.

This will be your second solo show. What are some of the things that you picked up from the Bottlecraft show that helped you with your approach for DDxGS?

Well, I just stayed true to myself at Bottlecraft. I figured if I liked how the stuff looked and Yeller liked how it looked then there was bound to be a few other people into it. I wasn't trying to play to an audience or impress anyone with subject matter. It all sold. As an illustrator I feel it's important to be somewhat consistent in style so I stuck to what I do best and used the same materials as last time. I was also able to repurpose some ratty old frames for this show. In this digital age where everything is CNC cut and perfectly printed I think hand done... should look hand done! I like when my stuff isn't perfect, I try to make everything as clean as I can but also make sure to remind the viewer that this is not made by a machine. The finest things in this world are hand made.

San Diego's art scene seems to be gaining some new momentum with the opening of spaces such as Helmuth Projects and Bread & Salt. Who are some of the local artists that you feel should be getting more wall time?

Locally... I like Dolan Sterns. Some of the decisions he makes are pretty great and he has figured out his own style (something I struggle with everyday). His volume of work and consistency is awesome. I'd also like to see some more Bradford Lynn. His piece at Parachute Factory was big, tightly rendered and occupied the space very well. He is a true professional/problem solver.

Will we be seeing your '55 Handyman Wagon hitting the streets any time soon?

Arggg! Not soon enough. Still need to button up some metal work and get it in epoxy primer. I have been kicking around the idea of finally getting some help? Maybe get a shop to make the gaps on my doors and hood acceptable. I wish I had more time for it! I never give up hope. I always have something going with it so I don't lose momentum. I plan on having it running this year and will be hauling around town in red oxide primer glory with no windows.

After DDxGS, what are some of the projects that you'll be working on?

Hopefully get some more work with Vans. I really love their brand, art direction and skateboarding in general. I actually wear the shoes everyday... and not just to skate in! I will have two T's coming out with them in Fall of 2014. Of course, I do have a day job... Good Time Design keeps me very busy during the day. I have been designing with them for the past year and it's a great fit. Lately, they have tapped into my oil painting and sign painting skills for their new venues. It's nice to be able to do hands on projects and get away from Adobe CS. I also have various freelance design/illustration projects lined up after the show. If I owe you something... hang tight!

Thank you for your time, Dane. See you Saturday.

Thank you, and a special thanks to my wife and kids… they are all very supportive. I couldn't do any of this without them. Saturday should be a blast!