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Meet Danny Neumann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danny Neumann.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
The 70’s and 80’s were a golden age for action figures, so when I was a kid I spent a lot of time playing with the little plastic people. The kind of play that is unique to childhood where you get lost in your imagination and time disappears. Eventually I had to give up the toys due to being a teenager but I never really lost the love. Now, as an adult, fueled by nostalgia, I continue to be fascinated by action figures. I collect them, I’ve blogged and podcasted about them, and I’ve found “grown up” ways of playing with them.

Please tell us about your art.
I photograph action figures as if they weren’t inanimate toys but, rather, living things. Through these photographs I try to bring the little plastic people to life. What I’d really love to accomplish is recapture the magical way toys are seen through the eyes of a child. I hate that we lose that imaginative mind-space when we grow up and the process of setting up and shooting my figures is the closest I’ve been able to mimic it. Most of my work is lighthearted. The times I’ve stood quietly by and watched others interact with my photos, smiling, reminiscing, relating, is about the most I can hope for. I usually work with what’s referred to as 3 3/4″ scale action figures. Meaning, the stars of my show are less than 4″ tall and many of their accompanying accessories are miniscule. I like when people are shocked when they see the actual figures because then I’ve done my job blurring the line between reality and fiction.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Part of my schtick is portraying exceptional characters in mundane, relatable situations. I like to instill humor and convey heartwarming stories into my work. I like to see people smile when they come to my exhibits. There is so much heaviness and darkness in the world and I am not immune to it. So rather than pile on, I try and provide a respite. Like, showing that humanity still exists, even if through the eyes of an inanimate object. That said, I will have to comment on certain topics when I get fired up enough. Recently, I commissioned a custom Colin Kaepernick figure and create a few shots with him. When I posted the first to Instagram, I watched my followers steadily drop throughout the day. That bummed me out, not because I’m obsessed with how many followers I have, but that “fans” would be so quick to bail. Can we not at least talk it out in a civilized way? Anyway, yes, artists have always been at the forefront of social change and I think that will always be the case. I’m constantly inspired by the creatives who push things forward.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I don’t have a current exhibit hanging. But if people would like to see my work they can visit my website or Instagram page. cantinadan.com,  instagram.com/cantinadanny.

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