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Danville native sees success in art career

Even as a child, Danville native Logan Tanner had a passion for art. With a love for drawing that began in early childhood and never died, he now works as a full-time artist in Chattanooga. 

“I assume most kids like to draw; I just never stopped,” Tanner said. “I actually still have many of my childhood drawings, dating back to age 3.” 

A fifth-generation Tanner to live on Tanner Road in Danville, he began making pixel art at age 15 and a year later transferred to the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile, where he began learning about painting. Upon his graduation he went to the University of Montevallo, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts. 

“I concentrated in painting and printmaking at the University of Montevallo, where I also started to learn sculpting; however, it wasn’t until I began collaborating with Sara Bowen Pottery during my time at Lowe Mill that I really began to hone my sculpture,” he said. “It was also at Lowe Mill that I painted my first mural in 2014, and they quickly became one of my favorite forms of artistic expression.” 

Tanner works in a variety of mediums, including pixels, pottery and paintings, large and small. He said he draws inspiration from art history as well as from his own background.  

“Inspiration comes from every direction. Looking back on art history is always a great place to find inspiration; one of my favorite murals I’ve created is actually an homage to Max Ernst,” he said. “My imagery, even in more fantasy-based works, often comes from daily life – like my collection of native carnivorous plants, or my upbringing, with works based on farm life, biblical imagery and even barbecue mascots, including Pig Stand.”  

Tanner said his success as an artist has come from persistence and has been a gradual process. Most recently he was commissioned for a mural honoring Little Richard in Huntsville’s MidCity, and his work “Leviathan” was recently exhibited in the Huntsville Museum of Art’s “Red Clay Survey: 2020 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art.”  

“I don’t think there’s one particular point where I ‘broke through’ as an artist,” he said. “It’s mostly been a gradual progression, starting when I began showing my work publicly at Lowe Mill, but I definitely feel a boost every time I create a large mural. There’s really no better form of self-promotion than creating a public painting that towers over your audience.” 

Tanner’s work has also been displayed at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Artfields in Lake City, South Carolina, and Lowe Mill and the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. He said he enjoys the process for all of his works and that each offers its own set of challenges.  

“Each medium I work in has its own special appeal. With pixel art, the focus is on intentional placement of every individual pixel so they lock together almost like a puzzle, and this level of control is very satisfying,” he said. “It was also very easy for me to learn color theory with pixel art, since the palette can be adjusted at any time. The focus on a limited use of color also helped me gain a foothold in printmaking. Both mediums force the artist to work within certain restrictions, and I like the amount of problem-solving this involves because restrictions tend to breed creativity. 

“Painting is likely my favorite medium, whether it’s on canvas or large public murals,” he added. “For murals, the huge scale is obviously the biggest draw. I usually design my murals on the computer, then trace my line art on the wall with a projector. Murals can be time-consuming though, so I enjoy canvas painting because they allow me to both create ideas more quickly and focus more on details.” 

Tanner said his passion for art is what continues to drive his success, and he continues to work hard to pursue his dreams.  

“I’m thankful I can make a living doing what I love. I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist, and I’ve remained focused on that goal throughout my life,” he said. “Any success I’ve experienced has largely been the result of believing in that dream and focusing on the work at hand.”