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Danny Ferrell | Juxtapoz Magazine

Living Proof, 2022, Color pencil on paper, 48 x 38 inches

"Danny Ferrell’s portraits are visions of intimate daydreams representing the artist’s friends and peers. Colorful, gregarious, and with a deep appreciation for beauty, the artist is 'humbled by the ineffable cosmic hand that imbues our world with magic.' This is manifested in the artist’s alluring muses, abundant in life and color. Color is the primary method that Ferrell visually communicates the sensitivity and strength of his subjects. The canvases, with their often warm, glowing backdrops, are saturated in color and bursting with life. Through lush shades of red, purple, and orange, he commemorates and elevates his sitters.

Ferrell’s color palette is culled from the sublime skyscapes of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Thomas Cole, the camp photographs of Pierre et Gilles, and the acid-washed aesthetic of Ed Paschke. Dreamfully romantic and enchantingly seductive, the sitters in Ferrell’s portraits are anything but ordinary and often express the melodrama conveyed in the work of George Tooker. Embodying the essence of those closest to him, Ferrell illuminates his figures with a meticulous detail inspired by the technical precision of ReneĢ Magritte.

While being a gay man plays its part greatly in Ferrell’s work, ultimately, the artist articulates, 'These are my friends and people that I have an emotional resonance with. I want to put positive images of gay men and queer identifying individuals into the world, so we can diversify the often tragic canon of LGBTQ film and art.' Ferrell’s works depict queer individuals living their lives at ease and doing ordinary things, 'but through a wonderful sense of immortality – free from indignity, oppression, and hostility,' O’Neill-Butler adds, 'Ferrell’s work is all about positive liberty—the possibility of acting, or the fact of acting, in such a way as to take control of one’s life. This, to me, makes his work slyly revolutionary.'

Ethereal landscapes of trees, clouds, and flowers surround the sitters to reinforce the importance of self-discovery and reinvent the role of the male figure in the canon of landscape painting. There’s affection and admiration in his portraits, as he gently brings to life the images of people he’s close with, rendering them with a careful and considerate touch."