Snippets Issue 6 : The Fashion Issue

Danny Mansmith

The artist / designer talks about his creative life, inspiration and favourite food.

Danny Mansmith

Having been a fan of Danny Mansmith of Chicago for about a year now, I thought it would be of interest to dig a little deeper into his world and ask him a few questions. Danny lives in Chicago, maintains a studio called SCRAP there and has had numerous shows around the country (including our gallery) and his work in textile continues to push the envelope in the two spheres he moves in - art and wearables.

Tell us a little about your first sewing experiences?
I think it was at my grandma's house, she was in a nursing home at the time and we still had the house with all of her sewing supplies. I got her machine out and grabed some fabric and just started sewing. It felt powerful to be able to just take pieces of fabric and turn them into something.

Has anyone helped shape your ideas?
My grandma was a huge influence on me growing up. She gave me my first art lessons when I was very young on how to draw hands and faces, she made sure I had tons of markers and drawing paper, which I used all the time. I grew up with a lot of love, that made it easy to feel like I could try anything and it was okay.

Much later, two girls I met while I lasted a year in art school, were Jennifer Jelinski and Karen Kroll, both from Indiana, and both were their own people. They helped me a lot with how I think about art and how I make it.

What is your approach to a new project?
I really try not to think too much about a plan. My studio is filled with all the things I love and I kind of just jump off the cliff and see where it takes me, but sometimes a solid idea happens that I run with. It's all about having fun and not worrying about mistakes or what people will think.

What has been your most satifying accomplishment to date?
I'm just happy to be doing my work full-time. Life is just too short! Too many people spend their lives doing things they don't want to do, so I had to try at 35, now soon to be 36 (haha), to just try to make a go of it and you would be surprised what happens when you just try.

Where do you see your work fitting into today's spectrum of fashion/textiles?
I have no idea, I can't think like that. For me, I need to try even harder to just listen to myself, be honest and make things in my own way. Funny though - as I do my work, I do seem to think of trying to help people think in a new way for them to see the possibilities.

What do you think is the most important factor in creating your work?
Freedom, no rules, coffee, something sweet to eat and having fun!

Do you have plans for collaborations in the coming year?
I'm going to have some work in my friend's (Anthony Stagg and Candy Minx) new Zine called "Burning Car" and I will be doing a consumerism collaboration with Shawna L. Handke, mixing cermaic with fiber with Cathi Bouzide.

Do you listen to music while creating and if so what?
Yes, right now I'm listening to the soundtrack to 2046, a Wong Kar Wai film, but mostly I love music that sets a mood in my studio. I have always loved Bjork, music that's strong and has an opinion.

What is your favorite comfort food and why?
I guess it's mexican. My favorite Mexican restaurant is just down the block from me, called Garcia's on Lawrence here in Chicago. Melted cheese, corn chips, guacamole and limes!

You can read more about Danny's creative life on his blog.


About Snippets

Snippets is the free online magazine from Cut Out + Keep featuring the best in indie & DIY.

Exploring the worlds of music, fashion, art & craft, our writers cover the things they love and we're always on the hunt for new contributors.

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