Miami’s Darby Bannard, Collected By Warhol

Darby Bannard was a Minimalist phenom whose work was bought by Andy Warhol.

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American master of abstract painting Darby Bannard lives and works in Miami.
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Darby Bannard got involved with an "extreme style" of painting called Minimalism at its inception when he was a young artist in New York. He says, "I was successful early on. I sold every piece I painted. Buyers were lined up with deli tickets to get to my work first."
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Later, he developed a technique called "Brush and Cut" using a stable-brush, "The kind they clean horse sh-- with," and a squegee to create what he terms maximalist abstract works.
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Bannard moved to Miami in 1989 when he was offered a position as head of the Art department for the University of Miami. He is still an art professor at UM.
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Bannard says, "Art is simple. You just look at it and either you like it or you don't. There's more bullsh-- in the art world than anywhere. When people try to tell you why you should like something because it's 'important' that's the worst thing because they try to take away your power of choice."
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Bannard graduated from Princeton with a Philosophy degree in 1956. He had been a cartoonist, editor of the Princeton humor magazine, and the tenor banjo player in a Dixieland jazz band.
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When he graduated, Bannard didn't want to get a normal job, so he said, "I guess I'll just go to New York and starve." He became a professional artist.
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"When I was a kid, 6 years old, I was drawing realistic birds. I've been an artist all my life. I've never had a real job."
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"Art goes in fads. It's completely a fashion biz. Nobody understands it, but if you're lucky, people buy your work for the wrong reasons. It's a tough business to be in."
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"You have to just keep doing it. It's better to do something bad than to do nothing at all."
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"Don't sit there and think. Thinking is a waste of time. Just paint."
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"Selling abstract painting is hard. People are put off by it."
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"This gel is the best stuff ever invented. It's the consistency of mayonnaise, but it dries hard as plastic. I use it all the time."
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Some of Bannard's work uses a technique he calls "Whipline," with raised lines of gel paint.
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"Around 1970 I was at the house of this famous architect Philip Johnson. He lived in this glass house in Connecticut. Andy Warhol was there. He always had these guys with him and they'd stand around looking lost."
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"I had met Andy a bunch of times, but I didn't really know him. I heard he had bought one of my paintings so I walked up to him and asked him how he liked the piece. He said, "Oh, I just bought it for investment. It's in storage." I just thought that was the weirdest thing.
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"Art is entertainment. It just depends on who's being entertained."
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"Krazy Kat is an old comic I love, the best cartoon ever. It's been my favorite since I was kid, and it still is."
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"I always compare art to music. Good music, you can hear a song 50 times and still like it. Paintings are the same. You can look at one 50 times and keep liking it better."
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"You can tell horrible work just by using visual common sense. If something is horrible looking, then it's horrible."
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"People painting with period blood? You can just buy red paint. When the idea started becoming more important than the work that's when New York got to be a strain for me."
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"My father was a railroad executive. He was so bored all his life just doing the business stuff. You should do what you wanna do, what you like to do."
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Darby Bannard's work is currently on display at the Center for Visual Communication in Wynwood (541 NW 27 street). Call 305-571-1415 for more info or log on to http://bannard.com
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