Black Eyewear Man: Danny Sangra

Danny wears TRACEY eyeglasses in Two Tone Grey.

 

Danny Sangra is a multi-talented artist, director, photographer and general aesthete. A keen drawer from early childhood, spending a significant amount of time at his mother’s hair salon in Leeds where he would redesign the covers of her magazines, he later added illustration and photography to his interests. It wasn’t until 2007 that Danny began delving into filmmaking. Fast-forward a few years and Danny’s portfolio now includes music greats like A$AP Rocky and Lianne La Havas as well as quirky films for couture houses Miu Miu and Balenciaga.  His first feature film ‘Goldbricks In Bloom’ was released in 2017 (you can watch it here).

Can you tell us a little about your career journey?

It started in my mum’s hair salon when I was a kid, drawing on the hair and beauty magazines. Next thing I knew, I ended up at St Martin’s studying graphic design. 

After that, I did illustration and print design for a bunch of fashion houses and brands. I got bored so I roamed around the world a bit and began writing. Somewhere along the way I ended up becoming a film/commercial director. 

And now I kind of do everything at once. 

You have a distinctive way of seeing the world, how did you find/develop your voice in your art?

I think it all boils down to the fact I didn’t have much growing up so I worked out how to make something from very little. The rest is just experience. 

You’re constantly traveling, which have you seen that’s moved you, and what travel lies ahead?

The first time I went to Japan was pretty influential. I had always wanted to go since being a kid. Every time I go it feels like the first time. It’s the people that create the amazing environment. 

India was also incredible. I had never wanted to go, even though I’m half Sikh. However, it was a place where at times I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

Where do you draw your ideas, themes, characters from?

It’s a combination of people I know, science fiction, Aki Kaurismaki and Reeves & Mortimer. 

With your first feature under your belt, what’s next?

I’m currently looking for a bigger belt. 

What’s your take on personal style, and how important is it for crafting your characters?

Even if you don’t think you have a personal style, you do. Everyone does. I find the people who don’t realise this intriguing. Even just the way someone tucks their shirt in tells a story. 

What drew you to Black Eyewear?

I had just found out I needed glasses. If I was going to wear glasses I wanted to make sure I wasn’t hiding the fact. I’ve always loved glasses. My dad always wore glasses that created his character. Especially in the 70s/80s. 

My friend told me about the approach Black Eyewear have and so I went in. The optician in the store was such a good guy and had such an acute awareness of what worked for me. He actually picked out a pair that looked like a cross of what my grandad and dad would have worn. Which is what I was after. 

Black Eyewear draws immensely on the design from the 50s and 60s, what’s your take on midcentury design?  Do you draw on it in your own work?

Who isn’t into mid-century design? I find it’s best in LA for this. I’m always trying to shoot in mid-century houses in LA. If I am inspired by mid-century design, my characters must be in someway but I can’t think how. My recent lighting setups are more inspired by films from the 60’s so perhaps that’s where it comes into my work.

Random question – do you have any favourite Iconic eyewear moments in cinema history?

Harry Palmer in the Ipcress File. My absolute favourite.

What’s inspiring you currently: 

Artists? Philip-Lorca diCorcia

Music ?

The soundtrack to The Man With the Golden Arm. I wish all of my films could sound like this.

What books are you reading?

Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Breakfast of Champions’

And finally, what are the best places to see humanity go by in London?

Any McDonalds at midnight on a Friday night.

Watch Danny’s films here (warning, you could lose hours!). 

 

Danny’s frames, TRACEY, are dedicated to Ronnie Scott’s great pianist Stan Tracey.

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