Alumni Profile: Danny Bracken C’05

Danny Bracken, Fine Arts alumnus
When Danny Bracken C’05 first arrived at North Park University from Mt. Pleasant, a small town in Michigan, he thought of art as mostly painting and drawing. But once he met the faculty in the art department and started to explore Chicago’s vibrant art scene, his narrow view quickly evolved and he began to see and understand the possibilities for creating visual art.

With strong support from the tight-knit art community who got to know him well, and a double major in communication that introduced him to a Swedish cinema class, Danny began to find his place as an artist: making videos. His visual work combined music, another passion of his, and now “explores experiential interactions between video, sound, and physical space, ranging from immersive multi-sensory installations to small-scale sculptures,” according to his website.

“I was encouraged by Professors Kelly VanderBrug and Tim Lowly, who saw that I had an eye for video and encouraged me to push it further,” he said. “Because of the small size of the department, faculty can realize things in students because they get to know you over a long period of time.”

Since graduating he has seen his work showcased in Pittsburgh galleries and museums, including the Mattress Factory, the city’s contemporary art museum where he worked in the exhibition department. Recently he took a job with a small firm that designs and installs interactive exhibits. Both positions stemmed from skills he gained as a gallery assistant at the Carlson Tower Art Gallery on campus, where he learned how to install and write about artwork, and as a designer in the communications office.

Danny continues to create visual art and music outside of his job. After graduating from North Park, he travelled around the globe for four years with his band, Anathallo. He recently scored the movie Blood Brother, a documentary that won the U.S. grand jury prize and audience award for documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and has been invited to contribute a video piece to the Pittsburgh Biennial in 2014.

As he continues to pursue his art, Danny attributes his development as an artist to the support he received from faculty. “Overall, the attention that we got as students because of the department’s small size was phenomenal,” he said. “It was great to have faculty who know you and see your strengths and weaknesses.There’s a strong sense of community here that I don’t think you’d get at a lot of places.”