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Artist profile: Ken Danby

post30Ken Danby is truly a Canadian icon in the world of art.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Danby credited his older brother’s interest in creating art with igniting his own passion for it. Known as “the school artist” from an early age, his interest in art only grew until he enrolled in post-secondary classes at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.

Though Danby dropped out of OCAD after just two years of courses, he always had the ability to grow as an artist and support his artistic desires. First taking on art-related jobs, the artist got his big break when gallery owner Walter Moos recognized his exceptional abilities as an artist. In fact, it was in Moos’ gallery where Danby presented his first one-man show – one that quickly sold out.

This artist-dealer relationship continued for many years and though Moos didn’t always remain as Danby’s exclusive dealer, together they did present numerous shows.

Danby is one of the few contemporary artists to have made a successful transition from artist to cultural icon. His images of sports, portraits and landscapes are timeless pieces that have contributed to his celebrity status and helped him garner international recognition.

Most people know Danby’s work from his incredible depictions of Canada’s favourite game: hockey, most often referencing his famous painting “At the Crease.” And whether you proudly display a Danby original in your home or a reproduction print, adding a piece of art by this Canadian icon is, in my opinion, a great investment.

Sadly, Danby died during a canoe trip in Algonquin Park in 2007. His tragic death at age 67 is almost surreal because it occurred at the site of Canadian painter Tom Thomson’s mysterious canoe death almost 100 years ago. Though their art differed dramatically, their deaths are now forever linked.

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