'Art as a way of life'
Daniel Wynn is a designer who operates Wynn Design Group out of his Avondale home.
WHAT DOES HE DESIGN?
For his business he creates murals, logos, letterhead, decorations, banners and does graphic design.
His specialty is graphic design and interior design such as interior accents, outdoor sculptures and wall decor.
He also works in product development composing limited edition prints, notecards, textile designs, lamps, plates and other functional items.
WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU PREFER?
“Pen and ink. It allows you to focus your creative energy. It can give you depth and a broad range of hues.”
Wynn also creates acrylic and some oil paintings, sketchings and sculptures. Similar to cubism, Wynn describes his paintings as surreal fanaticism. He has been dabbling in art since age four.
“I think of art as a way of life in which man expresses his thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s a universal language that can be understood by the masses and is a way to bring about positive change and bring out the beauty of life. I hope my work expresses the spirit of man and [allows me] to be a recorder of history.”
WHAT’S REWARDING ABOUT ART?
“In terms of the creative process, to create art that evokes thought. It allows a person to inject their emotions into what you create. The other thing is that my work is appreciated.”
WHAT’S MOST CHALLENGING?
“With having so many things that interfere with my thoughts, to find a way to work around daily tasks that take away from my creative time. If I could paint all day, that would be great.”
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
“Life and the things I see on a daily basis drives me. I try to create images that people can relate to in their lives. I try to focus on adding a positive message to their day-to-day experience. I hope in one sense that my work will enlighten people on where we are as human beings regarding man’s direction and choices for the future. The human spirit is most important. It’s about what we can all do to make the world better.”
WHO REPRESENTS YOUR WORK?
Yaso Gallery International in D.C. and Ginwright & Associates in New York sell his pieces. Wynn has also displayed his work locally at the LaVilla Museum, the FCCJ Galleries and Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.
In the early 1960s, Wynn served in the Air Force as a technical illustrator. He enlisted during the Vietnam War era when he was only 15. Upon discharge, Wynn worked for Reynolds, Smith and Hills. From there he took a brief detour to California, then moved back to his hometown and subsequently bounced north to Washington, D.C.
HOW DID YOU GET MIXED UP IN ART?
“I was working for the Washington Concentrated Employment Program [in D.C.]. One day on my lunch break I went to the Smithsonian. I had samples of my work with me and an elderly gentleman asked to see them. He turned out to be a writer and famous artist. He visited my studio to critique my work. Then he introduced me to Professor James Potter at Howard University who offered me a scholarship.”
Howard University, where Wynn was schooled in the fine arts.
SETTING UP SHOP
While living in the nation’s capital for nearly three decades, Wynn formed two coffee houses, also know as community art galleries. From there he fashioned his current venture which he carried with him when he moved here.
WHO WAS YOUR MAIN INFLUENCE?
“Hewey Lee Smith who is a painter in Chicago. He was a great mentor for me in the arts. He helped me find my sense of direction.”
CALLING ALL ARTISTS
Wynn is a member of International Artists Association and National Preservation for Arts and Culture. He has volunteered to benefit youth as the lead artist in the Cultural Council’s CANVAS program and for SWAT, Students Working Against Tobacco.
An Avondale resident, Wynn has two sons, Christopher and Derek, and three daughters, Tateana, Brandi and Sierra Shaar (Desert Moon in Swahili).
Kung fu, yoga, swimming and cooking are his favorite leisure activities.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
In his younger days, Wynn made some extra money by doing commercials, modeling and playing extras or bit parts in movies.
He was one of only a few African-Americans to serve as the Program Arts Director for the D.C. Commission on the Arts. During the Bicentennial year in Washington, Wynn’s work was shown to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the United States. He also wrote a poem entitled “Triumph of a Champion” which he presented to Muhammad Ali.
—by Monica Chamness