A retired UWM professor of art, and a long-time Shorewood resident, Danny Pierce started his book press, Red Door Studio, at Kent, Washington in 1959, before moving operations to Shorewood, Wisconsin, in 1965 after accepting a teaching position at UWM. He returned to Kent following his retirement from UWM in 1985, where he continues to print limited-edition books. His most recent work, Alces the Sad Moose, was completed in the summer of 1995.
Raised on a California cattle ranch during the Depression, Pierce's themes focus on rural labor and the relationships between humans and the animals they work with, especially horses. These themes are reflected in many of the titles of his large-format portfolio books: Cattle Drive ‘76; Shepherdess of Monument Valley; Horse Logging; Amish Days; Maple Sugaring; and the four volumes in his "Man, Horse, and Sea" series. With the companionship and editorial assistance of his wife, Julia, Pierce conducts careful and exhaustive research for each book. Unlike many book artists who work with assistants or in staffed workshops, Pierce produces editions entirely on his own. He writes the text, handsets the type, cuts the blocks for black and white prints, two-tones, and color separations, hand prints editions of 25 to 100 copies on a Gordon Platen Press, and constructs specially designed boxes for each volume, creating works with a deep, personal quality.