Gunpowder art hangs at the WonderSpot

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Danny Shervin might be a lousy rocket scientist, but we have his failed models—blown up at the launch site—to thank for what the master craftsman has become.

As a kid, Shervin was fascinated with building model rockets. He would pour gunpowder into a tube to see how high he could make them go. Most of the time they simply exploded right there on the launch pad. But that was okay with Shervin. He was more interested in the flammable medium he was only just discovering.

For the past six years, Shervin has been committed to understanding the challenges and potential of working with gunpowder as an art form. In fact, as a tribute to his so-so rocket building skills and amazing talent as an artist, Shervin’s newest work is now making a mark on the WonderSpot—the public art installation curated by Center of Wonder, located on Broadway Avenue near Virginian Lane.

Jackson Hole Public Art approached Shervin, asking him to create a large installation for the WonderSpot. Danny jumped at the chance but worried about the challenge of getting his usual 2×4-foot works into a larger scale form. With support from Bland Hoke, an experienced installation artist, Shervin constructed two 10’x6’ panels to showcase his latest moose head work.

With Hoke’s help, Shervin created canvases of plywood layered with durable plastic sheeting. It took nearly six hours to pour and paint with the gunpowder before Shervin set the powder on fire. It took eight minutes for the pink flames to weave the canvas, leaving the burned images.

Danny created two-halves of a moose head, one side being the skull and the other a live moose. The panels were hung last Sunday and will be displayed on the WonderSpot for at least a month before finding a permanent home at Mike’s Auto Body.

For Shervin, it was a unique opportunity to amplify his art and stretch his gunpowder-medium, nearly 2 lbs. of it, beyond anything he has ever tried. For Jackson Hole Public Art and Center of Wonder, it was another exciting chance to embolden a local artist to go big while showing how public art enhances our community.

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