Born in Pennsylvania, Pop Artist Danny Warhole and his brother balanced their young lives in-between his parents’ separate households moving between Pittsburgh and the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan.
Having always felt like the outsider, Warhole came out at 16 with an excitement to embrace a life within the LGBT community. Coming out in high school came with its own set of challenges. He survived by participating in community groups and focusing on the friends he met outside of school, which balanced out his informative years.
Exposed at a young age to the arts, Warhole gravitated to artists like Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. Perhaps not fully realizing that the art was created by Gay men, he felt the pull of their personal lives that spilled out into their artworks.
“I felt I was being seen through their art. I felt connected and less of an outsider in the world. I hope to do that for others in my own artwork. If I can make people feel a little less alone and seen through the art, that would give me a sense of accomplishment.”
In high school, his art teacher saw Warhole’s potential and had him work on independent projects. It provided a time that allowed for great experimenting with various art forms through paintings and soft pastel drawings. By college, he began to explore figurative art through the use of Bic markers. Not satisfied with the ink spots this medium created, he eventually moved into working digitally.
Warhole received his bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Political Science at Michigan State. Later, he received his Juris Doctor from Chicago Kent College of Law, which informs his daytime career in Administrative Law. With a steady professional position, he found a working balance in his life that allows him to maintain his lifestyle and build upon his creative passions.
A year after law school, he met his husband, Joe. They have been together for eleven years and married for six. During COVID, they decided to move away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago to start a new chapter in their lives. The pandemic opened up opportunities which led them to San Diego in 2021.
Warhole sees himself as an artist drawn to the process of creation. Regardless of the medium the final work takes, his original drawings began with a system of mapping out lines with an emphasis on the interaction of light.
“I’m fascinated by the way light illuminates the body through the use of hard edged, straight lines. Though I was never into comics, I feel as if I found an unconscious inspiration from retro-comic book / pop art, like the works of Roy Lichtenstein. When I now look at pop culture and references, I see that I was drawn to certain things that I applied to my own work that I didn’t notice at the time. There is a certain rigidness to the style that comes through my own use of black and white lines.”
“I always had an attraction to black and white art, even in photography. Maybe I perceive the world in black and white. My process has always been rooted in the monochromatic. When I start a new piece, I often break an image down to a grayscale foundation before I transform it. In paintings, this may mean moving into a range of blue hues. Color is a challenge for me. I’m still exploring how to best incorporate color into my work.”
Warhole sees his body of work as a serious exploration of the male form as a tool for communication, storytelling, and inspiration. He hopes to provide viewers an entry point for coming into their own understanding of self by incorporating a playful sensuality.
His current series and commitment to getting it into the art world began in 2019 as the COVID pandemic hit. Initially, the only outlets available to him were virtual with Instagram and Etsy. Since then, Warhole’s artwork has been seen and sold at Circus of Books in West Hollywood, PS Home Boys in Palm Springs, and The Studio Door in Hillcrest. He was delighted when two works were included in this year’s Dirty Show, an erotic art exhibition in Detroit, which were pieces that went over the line for online media.
Warhole looks to the future. “I hope to return to traditional media, taking ideas from my current series to some place new. I want to slow things down and enter into a period of exploration. I’m looking forward to reevaluating my work to see how I can successfully create deeper connections for my patrons.”
Danny Warhole can be found online at dannywarhole.com and on social media IG dannywarhole and Twitter @Danny_Warhole. His artwork is currently available at Circus of Books, The Studio Door and by commission.
Patric Stillman is a visual artist and gallery owner of The Studio Door. If you are an artist in San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community and would like to be featured in an artist profile, please contact Patric for consideration at [email protected].