UO Interviews: Grace Danico

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We have the ultimate pleasure to present Grace Danico's illustrations of re-made album covers and her collection of mixes this Sunday, February 11th, 11 am at Space 15 Twenty Gallery.

Plus, she will be hosting a Slow Jamz Mixtape Workshop from noon-2pm - be sure to RSVP here

We asked her partner, Lamar Abrams, to ask her a few questions so we can get to know her...

Hi Grace! Please tell us a little about yourself!

I'm a creative person from Los Angeles, and live in Atwater Village. I freelance as an illustrator and designer, and work full-time as an archivist. I've worked with clients such as Ace Hotel, Girlboss, Google, OKCupid, and Red Bull Music Academy. As an archivist, I help preserve materials (papers, photographs, objects, etc.) for the future.

I am also part of a local group called the Los Angeles Archivists Collective, where I work with other archivists in publishing a quarterly magazine called Acid Free. I typically provide art direction and design for each issue, and try to hire illustrators whenever I get a chance.

 

What kind of music were you into growing up? Who were your favorite artists?

When I was growing up, I enjoyed listening to R&B, hip-hop, and soul. My favorite radio station in LA at the time was 92.3 The Beat, and their motto was "no color lines." Some of my favorite artists were Aaliyah, SWV, 112, Tupac, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Lauryn Hill, D'Angelo, Common, Talib Kweli, and Blackstar. I also liked listening to Art Laboe's Sunday Special, where he'd play "oldies but goodies."

In High School, I started listening to more of my dad's record collection, which was a mix of classic rock, disco, and soul. I liked listening to Queen, Pink Floyd, Donna Summer, Issac Hayes, and Aretha Franklin. I eventually got into bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, and The Stills (this was the early 2000s).

 

What have you been listening to lately?

I've been listening to a mix of things! I'm Filipino-American, and have been really getting into disco and boogie from the Philippines. It's familiar and fun but entirely new to me! I've also been listening to the new tracks by Blood Orange, whom I love.

I recently reinterpreted artwork of my top 10 albums of 2017 for the 10x17 project, which will be part of an exhibit at Space15Twenty. Those albums include Thundercat, Steve Lacy, Nite Jewel, Sampha, Moses Sumney, and B-CoolAid.

 

Your Take Care series of mixes on Spotify cover a wide range of musical styles and genres. What inspired you to make such diverse mixes?

I created Take Care in January of 2017, shortly after the 2016 election. I was feeling pretty sad, and wanted to cheer myself and the others around me up, and decided the best way to do this was through music and art. The name comes from a passing exchange in an elevator with a co-worker who told me to take care.

Creating diverse mixes grew organically from my interests; I love funk and boogie from the 1980s, spiritual jazz, Japanese city pop and a whole slew of other genres. I listen to a ton of things and try to create mixes based on my mood. A few of my favorite mixes includes a mix of punk with a transition to disco/soul, a collection of soundtrack music, a whole playlist devoted to Prince, and new jack swing classics. I think there's a little something for everyone in each of my playlists.

 

You also make the cover art for each mix. Do you make the art based on the feel of the mix?

Most of the time, yes! I often make art based on a playlist's theme or if there's a particular song I like. The last playlist I made was a mix of psych pop, soul, and jazz. One of the tracks on the playlist is "Kites Are Fun" by The Free Design, so I made a gif of a kite having fun.

 

Do you have any other creative hobbies?

I like weaving, making zines, reading autobiographies about comedians, and singing karaoke.

 

Do you feel as if being from LA has had a direct influence on your taste in music?

Totally. Growing up in LA, I was heavily influenced by whatever was on the radio. My family was always driving somewhere, and that meant either listening to smooth jazz on The Wave, oldies on K-Earth, R&B and hip-hop on The Beat or Power 106, or classic rock on KLOS. In college, I took a bunch of music history classes, DJ-ed a radio show with my best friend, and went to a lot of shows at The Echo.

After college, I moved to San Francisco and went to shows here and there and mostly found music through friends and YouTube. Soon after, I moved to New York for grad school, and that also shaped what I listened to. I shared a creative studio with friends, and we’d take turns playing music. I’d listen to a lot of mixes on the subway and while walking around; music really sets the mood of an environment. Record collecting has always been big for me too, and I got more serious about it while living in NYC.

 

What other projects do you have going on at the moment?

I'm currently working on branding work for small businesses, wedding invitations for friends, and new playlists (always). In a perfect world, I wish I had more time for personal work that's not on the computer, haha.

 

What do you normally get up to when you have free time?

I love taking long walks; the longer, the better! I really love walking around my neighborhood because it's close to the LA River, and there's a nice farmer's market and record store too. I enjoy collecting records, listening to music while I cook with ingredients from the farmer's market, and enjoy watching anime with my partner (we're currently watching Jojo's Bizarre Adventure). I also love dog watching and sleeping. I could always use more pups and sleep in my life!

 

If you could be TELEPORT to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I love Prince, so I'd want to check out Paisley Park in Minneapolis, MN and take a tour of the archives. It's a toss up between there and Tokyo, Japan. I went there a couple of years ago on vacation and had the best time — record and vintage stores are so good there!

 

See more of Grace’s work: www.gracedanico.com

Listen to all of the Take Care playlists here

Follow Grace on IG & Twitter: @gogograce


Photos by Debbie Cho — http://debbiejcho.com/