One of the recent entries to the long list of prominent artists dedicated to The Eisenhauer Gallery is Martha’s Vineyard’s own Stephanie Danforth. What makes this partnership unique and exquisite is the fact that Danforth’s experiences see her as a pure influencer, as well as being a talented artist. Beyond her collection of paintings that depict everyday items and situations in larger than life settings, are her extensive experiences providing support for those who need it the most, as well as her genuine concern for the wellbeing of others. For over ten years, Danforth has not only inspired her viewers and peers through her art, but also through her compassion that is continuously offered to children in impoverished areas of Kenya. After taking a safari through the African country back in 2000, Danforth was significantly moved in such a way that she decided to dedicate her life to creating beautiful artwork that directly benefits others. “My soul was touched forever by my experience,” says Danforth. “Every dollar I make with my art goes directly to helping provide education for the kids of Kenya.” Her natural drive to magnify the beauty of the world around her, combined with her passion for people, creativity and acceptance directly translates to viewers and audiences of her work. “I love the art world and everything about it,” says Danforth. The Eisenhauer Gallery had an opportunity to speak with Stephanie about her work, what inspires her as an artist and how she is able to capitalize on her love for art in ways that benefit others. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: Describe the process involved with coming up with a new painting? Is it organic where you see a particular moment or action or do you almost have a running list of ideas that you slowly check off and bring to fruition?
Stephanie Danforth: An idea comes to mind, it just happens. I work from my own photographs and I love seeing the world through the lens of a camera. I see an old beautiful 57 Chevy when my car is in for a tune-up and I take pictures of it. I am at the beach and I am mesmerized by the curl of the wave, it becomes a series. A child's face moves me in Namibia and Morocco and Kenya, and then I am honored to paint them and have them looking back at me. An angle at an amusement ride, fruit close up, the gas pump on North road….. my ideas are very varied! I remember an art teacher I once had that said after the idea for your piece of art has come to you, the piece is already done. You have to do the work then to bring it to fruition, but after the thought comes to you in some ways you have already completed it!
Q: Your collection with The Eisenhauer Gallery ranges from paintings of amusement rides to landscapes, bundles of fruit to physical objects as seen in “Van Go.” What is your primary objective or focus?
Stephanie Danforth: My primary objective or focus is to not be limited and create what comes to my head. I do not EVER want to be know for one subject matter or one style of painting. My favorite compliment when someone is viewing my art is when they ask perplexed, "Wait, this is by the same artist?".
Q: Something that stands out from your portfolio is your civic commitment to humanitarian efforts, specifically in Kenya. How does this experience influence your perspective as an artist influence and your work?
Stephanie Danforth: I very much believe in the concept of "Pay it forward". It is what is about for me. I made a decision in 2000 that all profits from my art work would go to educate girls in Kenya who would otherwise not be able to get an education and it is what helps to drive my creative spirit. My 23 years in Pediatrics and my involvement in Kenya are tied together, weaving together my own personal tapestry. It helps me tremendously in my art to get out of my own way and to trust the higher powers that be.
Q: Do you have a collection dedicated to elements or themes derived from these experiences?
Stephanie Danforth: I have done a few paintings from places I have traveled including still life children's portraits from Morocco, Kenya and Namibia. Their faces steal my heart and being able to see them looking back at me after they are painted leaves me in awe.
Q: Describe your relationship with The Eisenhauer Gallery and what makes this particular venue unique?
Stephanie Danforth: I have been drawn to the Eisenhauer Gallery for years and I have always loved the art that is shown there. I am very excited and honored to be represented there myself and it feels like it is a perfect fit for my work. For more information on Stephanie and her collection, fans and enthusiasts can learn more about her by visiting her website: stephaniedanforth.com