D*Face Interview


FAD caught up with D*Face ahead of his upcoming exhibition which opens next week to ask him a few questions about him and his work.

1.If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?
I studied Quantum Mechanics and had a pretty good job offer from some company in the US called NASA, but graffiti, skateboarding and art took me down a very different path.

2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?
With most of my work, if not all, I like it to have instant eye catching surface aesthetic, so if you viewer chooses to turn and walk away at that point, thats all they’ll take from it, if on the other hand they choose to stop and think about the image, look past the surface, then they get something more back. They see the bigger picture. The overall theme is to question our surroundings and what importance we place on what we surround ourselves with. The failings of modern society, disaffection, anti establishment… by literally defacing these well known images, it allows people to instantly question their relationship to it or their preconceived notions of it. I’m just trying to get people to look at what they surround themselves with differently, you know with a refreshed view. I’m not trying to make my work all ‘high and mighty’ or give it some over worked or ill considered political view, it’s always been about a subversive break from the media saturated environment that surrounds us and obviously the side effects of the those ‘desires’ and ‘dreams’ which are now apparent having lived through decades of conspicuous consumption.

3. How do you start the process of making work?
All of my work comes from an idea, which I normally punch into the ‘notes’ on my phone, I literally have list of ideas, I sleep with a pencil and pad next to my bed as more often than not it’s during the Hypnagogia state of sleep I find I have some of my best thoughts, often I’ve fallen asleep thinking i’ll have to remember that, only to wake up wondering what the hell it was… so the pencil and pad helps, I used to used a pen, but often work up with ink all over myself and the bed, either that or my little daughters would wake up at their usual 5am, find the pen and use my face as a colouring pad, the pencil eradicated this problem. From the thoughts, i’ll sketch out the idea, often referencing vintage comics and ephemera, from the sketch I’ll piece together the overall idea and then start constructing it, at first digitally, then after i’ve got somewhere near where I feel it needs to be i’ll start painting, normally using sign writing enamels and house hold emulsion, I find I get a really nice matt and gloss contrast using those paints, recently I’ve been finishing a painting and then sanding element of it back, it releases me from the perfection I seek in my work, there’s normally an element of screen printing in my work, which again is all set up and printed in studio. All this off course applies to a painting, but I work across mediums, from sculpture to film, so my working process obviously changes accordingly.

4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
Having come from the Outside to the Inside, from working illegally in the public domain, how my work will appear publicly is still paramount and at the forefront of my mind, whether the piece will appear in the street or not, so yes I consider how my work will be viewed and digested. It is however a selfish act, as it is, in essence, what I want to produce and the aesthetic I appreciate, so on one hand I consider the viewer, but on the other, I produce my work for me, the fact that anyone else likes it, is an amazing by product of a selfish act.


5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work.
Jim Philips, Roy Lichtenstein , Louis Le Brocquy

6. What defines something as a work of art?
The artist or the person that defines a given thing as ‘art’

7. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
I wouldn’t want to walk in anyone else’s shoes, I’m quiet happy walking the path I’m on in my own shoes. I’m privileged to be part of an art movement and to be a instigator in that movement, there’s few art movements that have the public appeal that this has.

8. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?
Peter Frank gave an amazing quote from my LA show in 2012 and Shepard Fairey wrote the foreword to my upcoming monograph which is pretty touching.

9. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?
Rip off.. ripping off implies one is trying to hide behind the guise of ownership and authorship of originality, opening up that subject can only lead to the debate of what is ‘original’ which is A. a very long and boring subject and B. So over talked nothing new can come of it. but considering the question I think Warhol and Lichensteins appropriation of imagery leads them perfectly to be appropriated.

10. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!
It would be nice not to and i’ve given away thousands of pounds of work, sculptures, paintings etc. that have been put in the public domain which I can only do by ignoring the material cost or value, but any artist that lives from the sales of their work, which I’m privileged to, has to care, I care about the people that have supported me and bought my work. I’m lucky to be able to employ friends and family to work with me, the sales of my work enables me to do this.

11. What’s next for you?
After my show here in London, I am painting a few large murals around Europe, leading up to my book launch here in London in September through Lawrence King publishing, along with that will go a few book launches from London to Tokyo and in between, that will lead me back to my studio and preparing for scheduled solo shows planned in LA, Tokyo and Melbourne over the next 3 years.

You can see The. D*Face exhibition ‘New World Disorder’ next week at Stolen Space from Friday July 7th
More Details : HERE


About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the founder and editor of FAD magazine, a curation of the world’s most interesting culture, and Creative Director of FAD Agency, a strategy & creative agency working with brands to solve business problems using cultural tools. In 2008 following his passion for art he founded what has grown to become FAD magazine. FAD magazine is internationally recognized as a key figure within the emerging and contemporary art world, and has been selected as official partner by organizations as diverse as Moniker Art Fair, START, Volta and Christie’s. In addition Mark is a columnist for City Magazine.

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