100 Artist Uprising features Dan Henk

Posted by Side Arts on February 17, 2011
Artist Uprising

Side Arts is challenging contemporary artists to become more involved with today’s emerging artists’ community. Our charge to the selected artists: Tell us about an early experience showing or selling your artwork and what you learned from it. Artists are asked for submissions as well as representative images of their artwork.

Artist Uprising Part 2: Dan Henk

The biggest lesson I learned in the art world, was passed on to me by my teacher at art school. A radical black artist in the sixties, he now now made a living teaching art. I was very punk rock and rebellious, and he had a great sense of humor and loved when when people applied themselves. The fact that I took every opportunity I could to toss potshots at authority probably only strengthened our bond.

I remember, he gave one assignment, where he told the whole class they had two weeks to complete a four foot by six foot illustration of our best side and worst side. What encapsulated that, was up to us, we just needed to distill it into an image.
Most people spent about 3-8 hours on the piece. I spent a good 40+ hours painting a huge watercolor of me beating up Jesus.

Presentation day in the class, he asked, in mild shock, “Is that JC?”

I laughed and indicated it was.

He then asked me to explain how it represented my best and worst sides. Now, the idea had popped into my head, I had used friends as reference, and spent many a late night in my run-down apartment cranking it out, but I had never really seriously come up with a good tie in explanation!

I stammered and tongue tripped through a vague explanation, and he laughed. He said, “You need a better line of bullshit! Bullshit is what sells paintings!”

He then told the rest of the class I was making them look very lazy, and gave me an A, but his advice always stuck with me!

Find more info about Dan Henk at http://danhenk.com

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