Knoxville freelance artist designs some of UT Athletics' most iconic images

By  | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Danny Wilson is a Knoxville native, a UT graduate and a talented artist who has designed artwork for a wide variety of clients, from the University of Tennessee, to Taylor Swift, even The White House.

The White House, Taylor Swift, and the University of Tennessee’s basketball floor, also known as “The Summitt.”

It doesn’t sound like these three things would have something in common, but they do: a Knoxville artist.

Danny Wilson is a Knoxville native, a UT graduate and a talented artist.

“I’ve always liked to draw,” Wilson said. “I’ve always drawn as a kid, and I was kind of known for that in school.”

He’s a freelance artist who draws concept artwork, which means he works for himself by creating something out of nothing for his clients.

So far, it’s paid off. If you live in Tennessee, there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work.

“I designed the VFL (Vol For Life) logo,” Wilson said. “The artwork that used to be on the back of Jumbotron at Neyland Stadium that was up there for about 10 years, I did that around the year 2000.”

It doesn’t stop there. He proudly displays portraits of three UT broadcasting legends: Lindsey Nelson, John Ward and Bobby Denton. Wilson, along with Paul Siler, has designed artwork for UT football tickets from 1996 to 2012, and men’s basketball tickets. He even drew the 1998 National Championship poster.

What might be his most visible contribution is “The Summitt.”
“When I sit in there and see the basketball court, yes, I’m very proud that that’s something that I worked on,” Wilson said. “It’s very gratifying.”

His artwork doesn’t stop in the Volunteer state. Wilson also created a mural that is now displayed at the Hoover Dam. It’s 13 feet tall by 27 feet wide.

Just a few years ago, representatives for Grammy award winner Taylor Swift reached out to Wilson.

“I designed her back stage meet-and-greet area,” he said.

Then there’s his work for The White House. Wilson’s designed art for its annual East Egg Roll.

So how can a man from Knoxville catch the eye of so many clients? He says the variety he portrays exhibits the “spice of life.”

“I think that’s the key,” Wilson said. “I’m very fortunate that I enjoy a lot of different styles, and that I get asked to do a lot of different things. I feel very fortunate to be able to do something for a living that I love.”