Above the Fold

A digital 'zine by Original Fuzz about creativity and making stuff.

★  Jun 15, 2024  ★

Artist Spotlight with Danielle Chenette

Featured photo for Artist Spotlight with Danielle Chenette

Danielle Chenette, a visual artist from the windy city of Chicago, creates illustrations, comics, prints and animations. The rhythmic movement and folklorish style of her work caught our eye for this month’s Artist Spotlight.

Musician's Night by Danielle Chenette

How would you describe your creative process?

My creative process is, at its core, instinctual. I work pretty quickly and am most interested in creating new, interesting shapes when drawing. My drawings usually begin very, very messy with many drafts leading up to the final copy. Removing and reinventing along the way, in effort to give the most information while keeping it relatively simple and unusual, helps keep things new and unpredictable.

What are your favorite mediums to work with?

At the moment, colored pencil and gouache are my favorite toys to play with!

Who/ what are you biggest influences and why?

I feel almost silly narrowing it down to this, but for the sake of a short answer I think one of the most important influences of my life was watching Sesame Street as a child. The eras that I watched spanning from the 70s-early 90s were so imaginative and would feature these beautifully animated segments, each a couple of moments long, explaining a variety of things; counting, letters, manners, hygiene, etc. Every once in while I'll revisit an animated clip and become re-inspired all over again.

What’s the inspiration behind your Ginger Baker comic?

I saw Ginger Baker live last April after being a mega fan since I was 13. It was the first time I'd ever seen anyone at his skill level straight up talk through his drum set. I was so moved, I silently cried two tears at one point (I feel lame even saying this, but it's true)! The next day I started creating "Ginger Baker's Beat Kitchen".

Danielle Chenette comic Ginger Baker Drum Off

Danielle Chenette Ginger Baker comic 2

Danielle Chenette Ginger Baker comic 3

Danielle Chenette Ginger Baker comic 4

Danielle Chenette Ginger Baker comic 5

Danielle Chenette Ginger Baker comic 6

Danielle Chenette Ginger Baker comic 7

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from my friends, road signage, food labels, prose, and most recently from Anime directed by Masaaki Yuasa!

How and why did you start illustrating?

I started when I was the political cartoonist for our school newspaper as an undergrad student. After school, I started focusing on my own work whenever I had spare time between jobs. My friends and I would keep ourselves motivated and inspired through group shows, publications, and events. It wasn't until a kind art director from a web magazine sent me an email asking if I wanted to illustrate a piece for their Christmas issue, that my life began to focus more on illustrating as a "job" rather than a hobby.

Are you a musician yourself?

Yes. My first instrument was a xlyophone that I learned to play through our school's music program. I loved percussion and still do. I did that for 5 years and then picked up the guitar when I was 13 and am still playing (I have a Martin D100 that I'd die for). I used to write and perform a lot of music but now I just write and will occasionally share on my Soundcloud page.

Is there anything else you like to share?

Don't let anyone tell you there is no career or future in art!

Where can we find more of your work?

You can find my work online.

 If you live in Chicago you can find my work tangibly in Quimby's Book Store (in Wicker Park), Hoofprint Studios (in Pilsen), and Tan & Loose Press (also in Pilsen). I'm working on about three new comics that will be released before the summer time, so keep your eyes peeled for new things coming very soon!

How did you hear about Original Fuzz?

I heard about Original Fuzz by accident via an internet search engine! I was searching something unrelated when an image promoting your textile straps came up; I wasted about three hours staring at all of the different designs that day!


The Artist Spotlight series is brought to you by Liz Earle