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Brett McDanel

Hardship, life changes lead Norman artist to full-time career

February 18, 2016 - Tami Althoff For The Oklahoman

NORMAN — Sparks fly against the garage wall at Brett McDanel's home as he welds a heap of metal into the feet of what will become his next work of art.

“It always starts with the feet,” he said. “I get an idea of what it's doing, the emotion, and it just goes from there. They really build themselves.”

McDanel's workshop is the birthplace of humanlike sculptures made from used objects, some carefully cultivated from old sheds and salvage yards, others left on his doorstep.

The emotive found object sculptures of Brett McDanel

September 7, 2014 - Blogger Andrew Davidson, Optically Addicted

The emotive found object sculptures of Brett McDanel.

Local Man Turns Destruction Into Art

August 8, 2012 - KAUT TV OKC

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Crazy Bird Man

August 7, 2012 - KFOR TV - Great State - Galen Culver

TV Video Media NORMAN, OKLAHOMA– The piece of metal on his bench was an adding machine once, but Brett McDanel doesn’t care. “Once in enters my world,” he says, “it isn’t going to be what it was ever, ever again.”

He might not get the old numbers but he does get the new geometry. Brett continues as he works, “It’s funny how history has a great way of providing things to make new stuff.”

McDanel is in the remodeling business. He’s always finding old stuff people leave behind or give him. He really likes the old machines and junk drawer parts that eventually sift their way to dusty shelves and boxes. “I have a picture in my head,” he says. “And I’ve got to find the pieces to fit that picture.”

There was a time when McDanel was quite content to simply destroy things. But with the end of youth came a calmer sense of creativity. He might still destroy, but he has a purpose now to re-make that destruction into something he can call his own. “I taught myself how to weld. I taught myself how to build things. I taught myself what I know.”

From his garage in a quiet Norman neighborhood comes a menagerie of wild creatures. He used to just give them away but not long ago Brett showed a few of his creations to gallery owners in Oklahoma City. They latched on. McDanel says, “Somewhere along the way I found the ability to not really care what art was supposed to be.”

He sometimes refers to himself as the ‘crazy bird man’. His creatures, some containing real skull and bone, are a kind of cyborg born of destruction and brought to life by an artist who sees possibilities in those left over pieces.

McDanel is part of a show at the Paseo Originals Gallery in OKC. His work will be for sale at the gallery through September 2.

Steampunk Sculpture & Light Are The Focus Of Paseo Exhibit

August 3, 2012 - Heather Warlick - Daily Oklahoman

Norman artist McDanel, also known as “The Crazy Bird Man,” transforms found objects and bone into industrial Steampunk sculptures. According to a news release, McDanel envisions the pieces assembling in his mind’s eye and attacks his hoard of jumbled parts with welding torch and grinder in hand. For “The Mind’s Eye,” McDanel will showcase more than 20 new up-cycled works of fine art.


 Brieschke, of Bartlesville, paints in a style she calls “fractured light,” with a goal of developing compositions that will “constantly offer new perspectives to those who live with them,” she said in a news release. For “The Mind’s Eye,” Brieschke will debut a selection of watercolor and acrylic abstractions.


The Birth Of Knucklehead

June 9, 2012 - Mockingbird Media

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