Educated at Falmouth School of Art, and, later, Camberwell (from where he graduated with a First in Fine Art), Danny Markey specialises in predominantly urban landscapes, typically captured using watercolour and oils, many of which are completed en plein air. Upon graduating, he won the Richard Chamberlain Memorial Prize, and received first prize at the South Bank Picture Show at the Festival Hall, London.
Painting in London in the 1980s and 1990s, Markey was drawn to bleak inner-city scenes in Peckham and Elephant and Castle, an interest that has been redirected over the years into observations of surburban streets and long stretches of sodium lamp-lit highways. He devotes a large portion of his practice to night scenes, drawing with an LED miner’s lamp clipped to his worksurface. These images are suffused with the dull light of streetlamps and glowing advertisement signs.
Markey continued to travel following his first venture into Europe, visiting Tokyo in 1990, then the USA in 1992 and 1994. In 1992, he first exhibited at the Redfern Gallery, where he has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions ever since. In 1993 he showed with The London Group at the Barbican, where he won a prize. In 1997, a retrospective of Markey’s work was held at the Old Jail House Museum in Albany, Texas.
In 2001, Danny was elected Royal West of England Academician. Three years later, he was offered the chance to paint anywhere in the world by a generous collector, following which he spent a month in Palm Springs (January-February 2004), culminating in a series of sun-drenched watercolours. The medium was unusual for Markey, who usually paints with oil when outside. His daylight pictures capture the ‘flatness’ that Markey saw in a landscape which sweltered in constant bright sunlight. When Markey returned home to Wales, he produced larger oils and prints in response to his trip. These paintings were then exhibited at the Redfern Gallery, in a show entitled Desert Places.
Recently, he has been shown at the Mall Galleries’ annual Discerning Eye competition, where he has been honoured on several occasions with the Collector’s Choice award and has once been given the regional prize for Best Artist from Wales. In 2006, he was invited to participate in the Cill Rialaig Artists’ and Writers’ Retreat in Ballinskelligs, Ireland, and in 2009 he won Second Prize in the RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.
Having lived in Cornwall for many years, he now lives with his family in Mells, where he works from the landscape. He wrote of his own practice that, “[f]or me, painting and the choice of subject is impulsive. However, I do try to avoid the picturesque and look at the unregarded yet common aspects of the world around me. In the end what matters is what you make of it in paint but I seem to need a place, a landscape to get me going and the little epiphanies that trigger ideas for my paintings can occur in the most ordinary settings.” (2009).