Meet Danny Sangra

October 8, 2018

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Filmmaker and artist Danny Sangra recently stopped by our Kings Cross store to plaster his distinctive doodles over one of our windows. We caught up with the artist/auteur to find out the story behind the illustrations.

Can you talk us through your window design for 18montrose, there’s a lot going on, is there one theme that runs through it?

I rarely ever have one thought running throughout any of my personal illustration work. It's typically many different thoughts that look cohesive because of the medium.
I usually have humour in there to offset anything that may have a deeper meaning or a more ambiguous idea.

However for the window I kept things light, I wanted to play around with what the store IS NOT. Most places advertise what the ARE on a window. I went in saying all the things the store isn't... Like a strip club.

There must have been some technical challenges to illustrating a window - what was it like to work in reverse?

I've been doing it so long that I can write backwards weirdly fast but it's when you make a spelling mistake and everyone outside can see it before I do. That's annoying.

How would you describe your style of illustration? Is it something you’ve always done or have you developed it over time?

I've always drawn and made images. It's obviously developed. Over the past few years I've been very comfortable in a more free form way of working. I feel there's less pressure on my illustration as I work in film more often. This has turn my approach to illustration as a kind of 'release'. I can do what I want, draw random things, code messages, write as other people. To be honest I think most of my illustration work now is actually writing. I write more than anything else these days.

Although you are a trained graphic illustrator, you’re no stranger to film - commercials, feature films, shorts. How does your history as an artist affect the way you make films - do you use each side as a visual reference or are they quite separate mediums for you?

I actually keep them quite separate. I don't like not working so when I'm filming and I need a break, I can paint and draw until I start filming again. I suppose they do inform each other as I can always clearly see the film before we make it. It's easy for me to describe how I want it to look. Personally it's all just me telling stories and making images, be it film or illustration.

Your newest film, WAR, is just come out recently, what inspired this short film. It’s got a bit of a Waiting for Godot, Beckettian vibe to it. Was that something intentional?

That's an amazing reference. It wasn't actually based on that. I'm a big fan of the playwright N.F Simpson, I think even before I knew of him, you could say my work has his vibe. Really though the WAR film came about because I couldn't choose what film I wanted to make, a WW2 film or a Napoleonic era film. So, I chose both.

You don’t tend to take too long of a break between projects, have you already moved onto working on something new?

I just shot two projects with Vogue and I have a commercial coming up followed by another short film. There's also a few illustration projects I'm doing while I finish my house. Each room is being hand painted with various designs, so it's taking a while. I've started so I have no choice but to see it through.

Watch Danny's newest short film War here
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