Danny Israel is an artist, writer and dancer whose art has been purchased by the likes of Sir Elton and the V&A. He spoke with Eltonjohnworld.com about this, among other topics.
EJW: What sort of piece did the V&A buy? What about Elton?
DI: The V&A bought one of my silk screen prints; Elton purchased a photograph.
EJW: What did the photo look like?
DI: It was copper sulphate toned, and therefore a very rich, deep blue, about A4 size, or perhaps a bit larger. It was of a girl, standing on a bridge, three quarter length, in evening dress, facing the camera, as I recall. I think it was called ‘Girl in Blue.’
EJW: How did the entertainer hear about you?
DI: This was perhaps thirty years ago. In those pre-Internet days it was customary for photographers, such as myself, at the time, to knock on doors with a portfolio of work.
I mainly worked for designers and had visited several within a few doors of each other that day, in Hammersmith, Acton, or Chiswick, or nearby. I knocked on this one door and went in, and spoke to someone who was extremely well dressed, unlike most of the people I was used to dealing with, and who, I later realised, was John Reid.
He looked through my work and came to this one photograph with the words ”Elton would really like that.’’
”Elton who?’’ I asked.
”Elton John. Elton’s really into blue,” he said. He bought the photo for £12.00, as I recall, and I left. That was the last I heard, but I later saw a news item about Elton falling out with John (before David Furnish), and saw again that it was the same man I had spoken to on that day.
EJW: Are other members of your family also involved with the arts?
DI: My grandmother was the writer Mary Butts, now rediscovered as an early feminist. My grandfather was the publisher and writer John Rodker.
EJW: What are you doing nowadays?
DI: I am currently showing paintings at Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute, until the 22nd of June.
I am also a dancer, and I regard dancing, photography and painting as extensions of each other. I dance only tango, and was thrilled to be invited to perform at the Beijing Olympics in the parallel cultural events that the Chinese governmentt put on at the time (2008). I have taught and performed tango (nothing to do with what you might have seen on TV) all over the world, in China, Europe, Mexico, the USA and in Argentina, the only foreigner ever to do so, I was told. Also, I am the author of a book, Walking to Jerusalem, soon to be published, which tells how I walked (mostly) from London to Jerusalem.