There are times in life when we go somewhere or do something with a clear intention in mind, only to discover later on that we went there for an entirely different purpose altogether; one that we could never have foreseen.
In September 2003 I travelled up to Edinburgh for a meeting of the Artesian Directors, most of whom I was meeting for the first time. (Artesian is a community of self-taught artists founded by Judith McNicol). Our meeting was important and very necessary; nevertheless, as I stood at the airport waiting to catch my plane home, I knew that the real reason for my visit had been to meet John Danczyszak, to hear the story behind his eleven paintings of the cross, and eventually to write about it.
John Danczyszak is of mixed Ukrainian and Scottish ancestry, and was born in 1954 in Gorebridge, Midlothian. He attended Aberdeen Art College in the mid 1970s but was asked to leave, having been judged a disruptive influence and his work deemed too unconventional. Continuing to paint in isolation, he developed his own style and exhibited his work in galleries in London, Maastricht, Edinburgh, Roermond and Amsterdam.
In August 1991 Danczyszak began a painting that took him a whole year to complete. On finishing it, he decided that he would paint just one picture the following year and continued like this until he had completed a series of eleven paintings. As he worked he found himself becoming more and more obsessed: ‘I was working at half four in the morning before I went to work. I was being driven, driven to do it.’