Mission Statement

Much has been written about the music of Daniel Johnston. And there is good reason; Daniel is one of the greatest songwriters of this or any other generation. Daniel's been playing his intensely unique songs since he was a young teenager and garnering fans all over the world, including such notables as Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Pete Townshend, Matt Groening (creator of "The Simpsons"), Jad Fair, Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker. Unfortunately, much less has been written about his artwork. That, however, is beginning to change. Over the last few years, Daniel's drawings are showing in larger and larger galleries and prices for his work are climbing steadily higher. Personally, what astounds me about Daniel's work is the fact that he is an absolute unending wellspring of creativity, the likes of which I have never witnessed before. No creative blocks here... what he thinks and feels gushes out on to the paper, or into a song. But, perhaps the most incredible part of the story is that all of the superlatives that have been used in describing how wonderful his music is can also be used for his artwork. I can't think of one other artist in history who has so excelled in two such diverse artistic fields: visual art and music. The only one who comes to mind as a possible contender is John Lennon. (And I would argue, although I happen to love John's artwork, that his songs were far more "important" works than his drawings.)  

So, my mission statement is rather simple. I want the world, first and foremost, to spend some time with this man's visual art. When you really immerse yourself in the full spectrum of Daniel's artwork, from the late 1970's to the present, perhaps one of your first feelings might be awe, as you see the many incredible stylistic changes his work has undergone over the years. Later on down the road, as you revisit these images, you may find yourself more and more riveted by their haunting simplicity and "realness." I've spoken to many Daniel fans over the years, and the stories of how they became interested in his work generally play along the same lines. At first, it is usually more out of curiosity than anything else. Then, over time, as they viewed the material again and again they were won over. I have given this phenomenon quite a bit of thought and here's what I've come up with; the "truth," in any art form (or in life for that matter) is never easy to "see." One must commit to taking the time to find it. There aren't many of us who are willing to invest the necessary time for that search to pay off. Our days get hectic and our time precious, so many of us prefer that our daily entertainment choices be nice and "easy." The vast majority of people don't want to be challenged in the course of their day to day grind. Most gravitate towards "easy" choices in music and art that require very little of them. Conversely, Daniel's work is not user-friendly and doesn't play to the masses. It requires of you a small commitment of time to really "see and feel" what is going on. So, for those of you who simply can't live without top-ten music, formulaic movies, artwork that "goes with the decor," People Magazine, televised awards presentations, Celine Dion's latest album or attending parties where you spend most of the evening conversing with uninteresting people you don't give a shit about, I submit to you that Daniel Johnston may just not be your cup of latte. To all others: enter and enjoy!


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