Music and Art: A Natural Combination forSpeed Painter Dan Dunn

Music and Art: A Natural Combination forSpeed Painter Dan Dunn

Below is a recent interview from the May issue of the Houston Symphony Magazine, “A Conversation with Dan Dunn, Houston-based Speed Painter.”

We are excited to welcome back internationally acclaimed speed painter Dan Dunn, who

Dan Dunn uses paint, sand, canvas, multi-media and 30 years of life as an artist to choreograph his live performance art to classical, movie, pop and patriotic music.
Dan Dunn uses paint, sand, canvas, multi-media and 30 years of life as an artist to choreograph his live performance art to classical, movie, pop and patriotic music.

joins Principal POPS Conductor Mike Krajewski and the Houston Symphony for The Paintjam Concert Experience at Jones Hall. Improvising on a grand scale, Dunn uses paint, sand, canvas, multi-media and 30 years of life as an artist to choreograph his live performance art to classical, movie, pop and patriotic music. Based in Houston, Dunn earned his BFA from Sam Houston State University. He has won numerous national awards and been commissioned to draw caricatures and portraits for the likes of President George H. W. Bush, Sting, Simon Cowell and Jimmy Buffett, to name a few.

Houston Symphony Magazine:
How would you describe your journey as an artist?

Dan Dunn:
I have always drawn. My mom says that I just “came out as an artist.” I was an at-risk kid in high school. My father had me tested, and the counselor advised him to get off my back and send me to art school—where I thrived!

During college, I started drawing caricatures at Astroworld, which I loved because of the

Dan Dunn has appeared on shows with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen and Carson Daly.
Dan Dunn has appeared on shows with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen and Carson Daly.

performance aspect. I worked as an illustrator and art director and continued to draw caricatures for events because it paid well. I started PaintJam in 2004, and it took off in 2007, rocketing to the 45th most-viewed video on YouTube with 85,000 views per hour. That led to appearances on Carson Daly, Ellen and Jimmy Fallon, as well as at the Super Bowl. I have now been to 27 countries and have raised millions for charity with the sale of my work. I have painted and performed for Oprah, Carlos Slim Helu, John Paul DeJoria and Sir Richard Branson, just to name a few. It has been quite a ride!

Houston Symphony Magazine:
What inspired you to perform with an orchestra?

Dan Dunn:
We developed a stage show that we workshopped successfully in Las Vegas, and we were looking to put it on stage. We noticed the Houston Symphony doing fun Pops shows, and we thought, what a natural combination—music and art! What could be better?

Houston Symphony Magazine:
You joined the Houston Symphony on our Star-Spangled Salute programs last July 3-4. How would you describe that experience?

Dan Dunn:
It was fantastic! I perform to recorded music at most of my shows. The power and majesty of a live orchestra, especially a worldclass organization like the Houston Symphony—wow! The music just ran right through me. It was very exciting and the audiences seemed to agree.

Houston Symphony Magazine:
What can people expect to see and experience at the shows on May 22-24?

Dan Dunn: 
Surprises with every piece! We are exploring new ideas and concepts involving drawing and painting live on stage, and we are even incorporating illusion. I know this is an often-heard phrase, but there really has never been anything quite like it.

Houston Symphony Magazine:
What will happen to the paintings after the concerts?

Dan Dunn:
We are going to have a live auction directly following each performance. Audience members may bid on the paintings created each night. Imagine taking home a unique, tangible memory that captures the powerful combination of music and art!

Houston Symphony Magazine:
As a Houstonian, what’s it like to perform for your home audiences?

Dan Dunn:
Are you kidding me? The best! I went to Jones Hall as a boy and thought it was the most amazing place I had ever seen. I have played Madison Square Garden and The Venetian in Vegas, but it is a dream come true to perform here in my home town. I am honored.

Dan Dunn Video

The Paintjam Concert Experience
World Premiere

Michael Krajewski, conductor
Dan Dunn, artist
May 22, 23, 24, 2015 at Jones Hall

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