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Dannell Powell – Artist Statement

Self taught artist Dannell Powell works in digital art, oil paints, and assemblage. The digital art is the photographs and photo-collage used in the development of The Mannequin Chronicles a series of coffee table books, by this author/photographer. I began this enterprise in 2005, first copyright 2006. To date, I have 15 books including a cookbook. All my books feature characters I have created by hand or in using mannequins – developing their individual personalities. (I do believe this is a new and solely individual art form.) The art is the archival limited edition photographs used in the development of my books. Although looking for a publisher, I have self-published through the Blurb self-publishing website in order to have the books available in print for the demanding masses. My art is comprised of writing a story, staging a scene, photographing, using photo-collage to obtain my desired effect, and to tell a story with inanimate objects. If there is a single purpose in my art, it is to bring life and movement to a still object; to fool the eye. My work is hopefully entertaining, and often humorous. Now, how did this all come about, you might ask. A very good question.

I spent 32 years as a private investigator, much of which was on surveillance.

The Mannequin Chronicles began accidentally. In the course of life I came across a mannequin. (Well, you never know when you might need one.) I then came across a head. (Already having a mannequin, why not acquire the head?) In the natural progression of things, I put them in my car and began photographing. To the delight of family and friends, I brought them on outings. Being a bit obsessed, I eventually acquired more mannequins and took them on little adventures. (The family was quite pleased to assist.) Many outings, adventures, and photographs later, The Mannequin Chronicles emerged. As the Chronicles and characters developed, I began telling some of my own story through the character of Bert Strong, P.I. You see, I spent 32 years as a private investigator, much of which was on surveillance. I found myself on surveillance for many long hours, without a great deal to occupy my mind as I waited for life and activity to unfold. In the Bert Strong series The Mannequin Chronicles is taken in a new direction exploring the darker side of San Francisco. In the quiet hours of surveillance I wrote my stories, some of which became Bert Strong’s stories as Bert sleuths through the streets of San Francisco and beyond…. Bert’s stories and The Mannequin Chronicles are set primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have used the San Francisco area as my photographic canvas and my character’s playground, much as Hitchcock turned it into a backdrop for mystery and imagination. My books are also art books, part novel and part travel guide, with a fair smattering of humor. There is excitement, mystery, fashion, and a cast of mannequins.

Oh…but don’t forget the paintings, assemblage, dioramas, and critters. Who knows what else?

Dannell Powell | | (707) 526-9419
Sebastopol Center for the Arts | | Art Trails Open Studio #50