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Dani Henke

Dani Henke

In second grade I saw my work in print. My neon pink Play-Doh Hadrosaur bested the triceratops and T-Rexes of my classmates in a sculpture contest, and my creation was captured in grainy black and white for the local paper. I was hooked, on dinosaurs and art class. The passion to become a paleontologist faded somewhere in the fourth grade when I discovered roller skating rinks, Madonna, and Judy Blume but, my love for art has never left me.

It was also about fourth grade when I began spending a lot more time with my grandparents, where my curiosity and creativity was always encouraged. My grandpa would while away hours in his wood shop. His creations would become collaborations, Grandma painting the wooden figures Grandpa whittled. Witnessing these communications formed my view of art as a storytelling device and a platform to connect with others.

Artist Statement

Presently, a few themes course through my works. Sustainability, a long time concern, has become more of a focus. I am constantly seeking out methods and materials that fit my studio limitations and carbon footprint concerns. The bulk of my work is based in representational mixed media sculpture, melding found objects with my sculpted ceramic. Coming from the American Midwest where barns are full of gadgets and gizmos aplenty, transforming “junk” is a common pastime. Since that glorious day way back in second grade, I’ve fine-tuned combining the constructed and the came-upon while allowing personal relationships, social or environmental issues, and a little humor transform materials into visual narratives that speak to the viewer as well as satiate my need to create.