We catch up with David to find out more about his creative process, proudest moments and his ideal dinner guests.
What is your earliest memory of an artwork and who was it by?
A reproduction of The Death of Chatterton by Henry Wallis used to hang outside my bedroom for years. I remember looking at it; at Chatterton’s pallid features set in this mournful scene. I was intrigued by the forlorn atmosphere in the painting and whilst I didn’t know the story I realised he wasn’t sleeping.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you begin?
Often with a loose collage or sketch-like painting. From this starting point I will move backwards and forwards between various mixed media techniques. Sometimes digital and sometimes more traditional methods; I’ll have an idea of where I want to go with an image but no set plan so I’ll be looking at the shapes and textures that are in front of me and I’ll let this be my guide. Gradually the image comes together and I just stop when I think it looks right. To me creating an image is about making lots of small decisions and I tend to move in zig zags rather than it being a linear process.
What is your favourite time of day to be in your studio?
As early as possible. I love the optimism that morning has. I’ll make a cup of tea and put the radio on. As the day moves on frustrations and distractions often set in.
What inspires your different bodies of work? Are there any particular experiences that have informed your paintings and choice of subject matter?
I’ve always been interested in the more expressionistic or emotive aspects of image making. I enjoy how colour, mark making and texture can create a specific mood and tone and I often enjoy representing landscapes and memories of places as I think they are a good vehicle for this.
Trial, play, tinker, rework, observe
What convinced you to join Bridgeman Studio for licensing and what would you most like to see your images licensed for?
There are so many artists I follow and respect that are also associated with Bridgeman and I saw it as an opportunity to expand the use of my images to other platforms. I would like to see my work applied to ceramics or textiles - particularly the more pattern-based collage work that I have been creating over the past year.
What artwork or project are you most proud of and why?
The Folio Book of ghost Stories was a very special project for me as it realised a lifelong ambition of illustrating a book for the Folio Society. It then led to me winning a double award at the V&A Illustration Awards including the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year Prize. My family were able to come to the awards night at the V&A museum so it was a very proud moment for me.
What three things would you take if you were cast away on a desert island?
A hammock maybe. Actually a four poster bed seeing as it’s imaginary
The Story of Art by EH Gombrich as I can read it many times over without getting tired of it
A survival book as I’d be useless. I’d then realise I should have brought a knife instead of the art book.
If you could pick 5 artists, dead or alive, to have dinner with who would they be and why?
David Hockney - I find Hockney so articulate in his observation of how we look at and represent the visual world. He speaks about art in a plain but very insightful way which I really admire.
Bosch - Not much is known of him so I’d like to see what sort of mind created his nightmarish imagery.
Grayson Perry - I love Grayson Perry’s beautiful and provocative ceramics. I also think he seems good company and would get the conversations going.
Francis Bacon - He’s one of my favourite artists. I’d like to have a few drinks with him and play the Melvyn Bragg role.
Frida Kahlo –I’d like to sit and listen to her tell me about her life if I could.
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