Some artists are called to the profession from childhood and others find it through sheer serendipity. And when they do, they know they’ve found their place. This is the story of jewelry artist Danny Bushart.
Danny’s first exposure was in high school when he opted for a jewelry-making class, assuming it would be more fun (and likely easier) than the other contender, honors English. He was captivated by the process and started to create pieces featuring flowing lines through links and stones. Though he knew he loved the process of creating it, he hadn’t really thought of it as a career until a fellow classmate bought one of his pieces for $10.
That $10 and a love of the craft kickstarted a life-long career––one that Danny loves every aspect of even decades later.
Though he challenges himself to come up with new designs, he’s most known for his Art Nouveau-style compositions. He admits, however, he didn’t intentionally go for Art Nouveau, and it wasn’t until he met his wife Jan that he learned his flowing, curvilinear style had a name. Nonetheless, that continues to influence his flowing-pattern design.
Read on or watch the video below to learn how Danny keeps his work fresh and unique.
When did you know art was your calling?
My aunt was an artist and she had some art that was on the wall at my grandparents’ house. That really inspired me when I was a kid. I was open to the idea of art, but then I got into high school and forgot all about it until I needed to take some humanities units and was deciding between an honors English class or a jewelry class. It was a no-brainer for me. Jewelry won out because it was a lot more fun and there might be girls so it was a pretty easy decision and it was fun.
What inspires your work?
The Art Nouveau period. Although, I had no idea it was Art Nouveau until I got together with my wife Jan. She said, “Oh, this is all curvilinear. It’s Art Nouveau.” I had no idea that’s what it was. I just liked the flowing line, the way that you could flow one link into the next link and just keep a pattern flowing throughout a necklace or bracelet. That’s why I tend to use a lot of pear-shaped stones that are pointed at the top and round at the bottom because the flow of the line works down to the stone so everything flows into that
What challenges you the most about your work?
Painting myself into a box. I’ve been doing Art Nouveau for a long time––about 40 years. Over the years, I’ve tried to design things that are just slightly outside of what I normally do and they don’t sell. Other times people will come in and ask “What’s new?”. If you can’t get outside the box and keep trying to design inside of it, your collectors will run out of things to buy. I can’t blame themt. I finally just went 180 degrees [with my newest designs].
What do you love most about creating art?
There’s freedom in a lot of ways. We work hard. We work as hard as anybody that has a normal job, maybe harder. But we get to travel around. We have friends all over the country. I can ride my bike in the morning if I want to. I don’t have to be anywhere at nine o’clock. I can go into my studio and work until midnight if I feel like it. I love the freedom of being able to do what I’m passionate about and make a living doing it.
What drew you to the Celebration of Fine Art?
I have a lot of friends here who have been doing it for 20 to 30 years and they’ve been trying to talk us into it for years. We love the idea but we live in Hawaii on Maui. This is high season there. The whales are there. It’s beautiful right now. It was difficult to decide to do it, but we have a lot of friends here. Even though it’s 70 days in a row, I haven’t felt like I’ve been locked down at a job the way I thought I would. It’s been a great experience so far.