Danny resides in Pennsylvania with his wife Christie, and now grown sons, Hunter and Kyle, in the heart of farm country. Danny is a completely self-taught artist who enjoys working with a wide variety of mediums but his favorite is Pumpkin carving. After watching a Food Network "Challenge" episode, called Outrageous Pumpkins, and then Halloween Wars he decided to try his hand at pumpkin carving. Little did he know it would spark a flame that would turn into a passion. He set a goal of becoming a pumpkin carving contestant on Food Network and achieved that goal in season 4 of the hit show Halloween Wars. Danny returned to Food Network Halloween Wars: Hayride of Horror in 2017 where him and his teammates were crowned Champions! His journey has now come full circle, back to where it all started, and he was on - Food Network Outrageous Pumpkins 2020 edition. He was overwhelmed when he won the championship on the show that started him down this crazy path. And winning the series with Ray Villafane (Winner of the first 2 seasons of Outrageous Pumpkins) was an added bonus. "Ray is the guy that brought pumpkin carving mainstream back in 2008 (ish), and to have him critique my work, alongside Disney puppeteer Terri Harding, was a dream come true! I also got to meet Alyson Hannigan, so that was also pretty cool!"
When he’s not carving pumpkins (or dreaming about them), he spends his time chainsaw carving tree stumps into amazing works of art. When the dropping temperatures drive most people inside he also carves ice with the chainsaw and for some reason really enjoys the cold snow flying off the saw and the heat of the fire polishing them to glass-like finish. With exposure through TV and social media, he's been fortunate enough to be invited to compete and work alongside some of the top ice and sand sculptors in the nation at events up and down the east coast! He's always enjoyed creating beach sand sculptures as a young child and later in life with his sons and now on a professional level. Whether he’s covered in Pumpkin, snow, sand or sawdust, he is extremely happy and looks forward to new adventures that life can bring! Through years of practice, his pumpkin skills has lead him all over the nation showcasing what can be accomplished with pumpkin.
His background includes carpentry, graphite portraits, clay, mold making, horror movie special FX and over 15 years of professional airbrushing.
Without the support of his wife, sons, parents, family and friends none of this would have been possible.
Carpe the Diem....Seize the Carp! -Danny Kissel
He has some advice for young artist's, that may not be confident in their abilities ... Try new things whether you think you can or not. The lessons learned will long outlast the fears you have in your head and the failures you may encounter along the way!