dan amell | seattle | painting


Born July 31, 1965 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Daniel F. and Donna Mae Amell.




Shows early promise when the mixed-media burlap/yarn piece, “Parachute Man,” 1973, is exhibited at Miller Hall Mall for Duluth Public Schools Elementary Art Show.

Wins consolation prize for City of Duluth Boy Scout Jamboree soap-box derby.



Meets Marcia and Peter Brady.

Fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Webb, sends note to parents expressing concern that Daniel asks for too much manila paper to draw snowmobiles and chopper motorcycles.


Accepted into Crossing Guard School, Brainard, MN.

Pencil drawing of family dog, “Friday,” is selected for exhibition in art room foyer of Ordean Junior High School, Duluth, MN.

Starts painting in 1983 when taking first formal art class during freshman year at St. Scholastica.

Decorates Christmas display for Duluth Public Library “Children’s Bulletin Board”.

Majors for two years in biochemistry while also doing art. Transfers to the University of Minnesota, Duluth and focuses on art full time.




Assistant Exhibit Designer at A. M. Chisholm Museum, Duluth, MN. Responsible for annual “Christmas Around the World” display.

Graduates from University of Minnesota Duluth, with a B.F.A. in 1988.

  Moves to Seattle in 1990 to pursue painting full time.

Dan adopts Poet, a stately German Shepard with dermatology bills that would make one think he is from LA.

Starts living out of the grendlmobile while working out of a 15’x8’x7’ cinder block garage in Greenlake area.


Begins bartending at The Old Town music Hall in Ballard. Owner Dan Cowan purchases Tractor painting and renames the bar to Tractor Tavern.

Finally can afford large unheated studio in Sodo area. Shows in group shows. Wins the Pacific Northwest Annual, a 5 state regional exhibition at the Bellevue Art Museum. Dan gets to shake hands with Herb Weisbaum (KIRO consumer reporter).

Studio is torn down for the Mariners homeplate parking lot.

Moves to Ballard into a tiny cinderblock house with a double garage to work in. Landlords sell the house in 2 months.


Gets fed up. Retreats to Duluth, Minnesota to paint.

Visits with Grandma Cora while painting in the beautiful Temple Opera Bldg. Paints 35 paintings in 3 months and beats Cora at Scrabble over 75 times, only losing once.

Returns to Seattle in 1998 and finds another house/basement/garage to work in. Starts selling more paintings in order to spend less time bartending at the Tractor.



House is put up for sale. Dan heads back to Duluth, spends a month camping around Lake Superior with Po and shooting photos with vintage cameras using expired film.


Returns to Seattle and finds the cavern in Fremont. Again, there’s no ventilation, no outside light whatsoever, and children tap dance on the ceiling. Dan is still painting there and is not quite critically insane.

Dan in the Cave