We took a trip around the block to visit Danny D at his new East LA Studio. While we were there, he got candid about his ceramic art style, interior decor, and demonstrated how he crafted our limited run Dad Grass x Danny D's Mudshop Ashtray. Photos by Amber Maalouf.
Front and center at his new pottery studio is a utility shelf that houses much more than artist tools and memorabilia—it’s home to the puzzle pieces that make Danny D’s Mud Shop a unique extension of the artist himself.
As the wheel spins, an almost silent hum settles underneath the soft tunes of Chris Stapleton and The Black Keys. Danny’s face laser-focuses on the precise movements of his hands throwing the clay—seemingly effortless on his part, but a total testimony of all the years put into his craft.
Quantity has nothing on the quality of his work too. Each ceramic gets christened with its own serial number underneath that solidifies it as truly one-of-a-kind.
The high ceilings of the Mud Shop display a variety of graphic art, designs from friends, and vintage Chinese posters, some thrifted & some found on the side of the street. Below, Kaiya Jane, the shop pup, sniffs out her new treats from us.
We marveled as Danny threw five ashtrays out of thin air and shared with us the key to his efficiency— “This is called ‘throwing up a hump’ where you get a big mound of clay and throw multiple things off of that. It’s the only way my business runs.”
As we filmed our Q&A with Danny, he simultaneously painted the ashtrays he threw for us the day before. Multitasking and prioritizing have taken a front seat as his business scales further into international markets. But still, he remains humble, laughing and joking the entire time we’re there.
Behind the scenes, Danny shares with us the focus of his art—carve illustration. It’s a process where he takes the ceramics to a leather-hard stage then freehand carves out textures around the illustrations. He grabs inspiration from American Western art & tattoo art, citing how the shapes translate very well into clay.
Four finished ashtrays park themselves nearby his working table, waiting to be quality-checked, packed with care sandwiched between foam sheets and brown paper, then shipped off to wholesale or their new homes.