Art The DMs

Danny Cole Isn't Afraid of the Hat Man

danny-cole-artist-new-york
All images courtesy of Danny Cole.

Danny Cole loves toys as much as your baby niece does. Fascinated by the art of play and its ability to stimulate the imagination, the 23-year-old multidisciplinary artist has garnered a cult following by transporting his nearly 100 thousand online followers into Creature World: an extensive project centered around his signature animated character, “The Creature.” Creature has been alive in Cole’s mind since childhood, when the artist first began drawing and chronicling his adventures. Creature World brings these vivid dreams to fruition through various mediums. In 2021, Cole launched one of his most prominent projects to date, a 10,000 piece NFT collection that ravaged the market. This month, Creature World made its New York Fashion Week debut, with each garment in the inaugural collection immersed in its own wild, sculptural installation. Here, Cole DMs CULTURED about his online vices, his affinity for a certain creepy Twitter meme, and his dream of a more earnest Internet. 

CULTURED: Describe your audience in one sentence.

DANNY COLE: People that have held onto the wonder that we were all born seeing in the world. 

CULTURED: What’s the latest Internet hole you’ve fallen into? 

COLE: Recently I’ve been looking at toys from pre-electronic eras. Seeing how I would have fun if I had been born just a few decades earlier. It’s really interesting to me because I grew up on the Internet, so these experiences seem so pure. 

CULTURED: Can you send examples? 

COLE: :D I absolutely can.

COLE: Stacking toys that can be arranged in creative ways has resonated with me because I feel like I’m getting the same experience in my adult life configuring plastic shelves in my home. It’s so magical to see things become real because of us. It never gets old. It never stops being amazing. 

CULTURED:  What were your last three Google searches? 

COLE: 😳 1. Barber shop on Bedford Ave (I just got a haircut). 2. Custom knitting nyc (one of the garments for my show got trapped outside of NY and I had to scramble to remake it from scratch. We wound up making it with felt). 3. The hat man (there is this insane tweet about the idea of seeing the hat man after taking too much Benadryl and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve seen online).

CULTURED: Oh nooo. What’s the best thing about the Internet? 

COLE: How it connects us and helps us find our people. There are so many people that grew up lonely because there wasn’t anyone like them around. You can find them on the Internet. You naturally find your little niche corners. There’s an audience for *anything.* 🌟🌈

CULTURED: What’s the craziest DM you’ve ever received? 

COLE: Honestly I think the craziest DM I ever received was a guy telling me he wanted to propose to his girlfriend over a piece of graffiti of mine. And then did it. 

CULTURED: Incredible! Do you have photo evidence? 

COLE: Yes.

danny-cole-graffiti-art

COLE: I hid behind a car and took a video of it in a ski mask. 😂 

CULTURED: Who do you stalk? Who do you block? 

COLE: This is so good and so honest. I don’t think I stalk anyone religiously, although I do love when you stumble on an odd character online and do a deep dive to make sense of them. I was afraid to block anyone until recently, because I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings. But I realized when people are burdening you, you gotta think about your own wellbeing too! A friend of mine had someone on Twitter get mad at him for blocking him, so my friend replied with a screen recording scrolling through the 100+ times the random guy tweeted negative things at him and captioned it, “I’m doing this to free you bro.” I thought it was so funny. 🌱🌎

CULTURED: Favorite meme?

COLE: I really like people that are memes but don’t see themselves that way. I relate to them a lot because I was so outside of “the joke” growing up that when people laughed at me, I thought I was in on it. So, it puts a smile on my face to see odd characters just being themselves, and social media algorithms are so good at showing you fascinatingly different people because they are captivating. But this week I have really liked the concept of the hat man. I have been telling people seemingly serious stories just to turn it into situations where the hat man is the punchline.

CULTURED: Many people are memes. 

COLE: You’re talkin to one of them. 😎

CULTURED: Self awareness is key.

COLE: No escaping. Born this way.

CULTURED: Describe your Internet presence in one sentence. 

COLE: My Internet presence is simply putting more color and excitement into the world. I want people to feel inspired and nourished with the colors that make life fun to live as often as possible. 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉