Blanketing an Art Form: Danny Liu

While I was in Taiwan, I got an opportunity to introduce my Mom to my friends Danny and Patricia Liu, who generously took the time to show us around Kaoshiung and take us to lunch. Even better, we got a chance to see Danny’s art studio, which he and Patricia have filled with boxes and boxes, and shelf after shelf of fabric squares that they have sorted by color.

Danny is an immensely talented artist who creates mosaic quilts; he creates portraits by stitching together pieces of fabric. (He also works with ceramic tiles.) The artworks have to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. While there seem to be computer programs that allow you to turn photos into such mosaic quilts, Danny shuns them, preferring to work by hand. That is because he considers every fleck of color in each piece of fabric, and how each piece interacts in the whole. (Danny also likes to sometimes hide messages in his pieces.) He says that he often swaps squares of fabric in and out of a single spot more than a dozen times, and he likes to work for 12+ hour stretches when he is feeling inspired. Each piece of a work in process is pinned to a large styrofoam board.

Danny says he is inspired by the artwork of Chuck Close, but he also studies the great painting masters (as you can see from his recreation of some painting masterpieces). He seems to have gotten both an artistic and a business sense from his mother, an Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) master who maintained a store in Brazil, where Danny grew up. My favorite of Danny’s pieces is a quilt work he calls “Feng” (“Wind”), a portrait of his daughter as a young girl.

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