Keep an eye on emerging Kansas City artist, J.T. Daniels. His signature style, a combination of graffiti and illustration, brings a welcomed energy and authenticity to Art in the Loop’s temporary public art program this summer.
J.T. Daniel’s new public art installation is located in the Power and Light District on the southbound street car stop. The artist hopes his art, which fills the back wall of the shelter, will attract the attention of street car riders, and perhaps spark friendly conversations between strangers.
In his work titled “Wait Here,” a playful mashup of faces, cartoony characters and gestural imagery flows together like a layered graffiti street mural. In a written interview, Daniels describes his artistic approach as “an amalgamation of automatic drawing, surrealism, street art and good hip hop.”
“I spend a lot of time finding the right music, which creates the right vibe… I’ll loosely draw lines on the page that embody the flow or feeling of whatever song I may be listening to and then I begin to pull out characters, stories, emotions or a specific word as the theme,” Daniels stated.
But despite the artist’s reliance on a spontaneous process led by his subconscious, Daniels’ all-over composition is carefully and cleanly crafted. To create his installation, Daniel started by creating a 4’ x 4’ black and white acrylic painting on canvas. Then the artist took a photo of the painting and manipulated it in Illustrator to create a vector file, which was printed on adhesive vinyl for the large outdoor installation.
The caricature faces and cartoony characters in his artwork represent real people that the artist met or shared space with while riding the streetcar. J.T. Daniels’ work finds success when his lyrical painting guides the viewer’s eye on a ride through his playful painting– an experience that easily connects to people-watching on a busy streetcar in downtown KC.
J.T. Daniels is a Kansas City, KS native who earned a BA from Park University in 2012. From 2013 – 2016 he worked as a youth development coordinator at Mattie Rhodes Center and is now an artist assistant at Johnson County Developmental Supports. He enjoys mentoring kids on creative self-expression and community engagement projects like a recent high school mural project. In 2012 Daniels earned a Young Creative award from the Kauffman Foundation’s Urban Entrepreneur Partnership program. www.jtdanielsart.com
Robin Trafton works as the fine art curator of Commerce Bank and director of The Box Gallery, a community exhibition space at 1000 Walnut. Previously she was director of Art in the Loop Foundation and a freelance critic for the Kansas City Star.
About the 2017 Art in the Loop Project
The 2017 Art in the Loop Project: Cue! is made possible through the generous support of KC Streetcar; the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the Missouri Arts Council; Arts KC and our corporate sponsors including Stinson Leonard Street, Henderson Engineers, JE Dunn Construction, McCownGordon Construction, Port KC and UMB Financial Corporation. We appreciate in-kind support and guidance provided by the Downtown Council, the Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts, KCMO-Public Works Department, KC Streetcar, the City Market, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Art Institute, Folk Alliance International and The Bridge 90.9.