“GZA – 0% Finance” is the first thing that pops into my head when I think about Dave. We met a couple of years ago and I can still recall when he played it to me for the first time. This was my first real introduction to hip-hop and led to a musical journey which changed my life. Real deal. Besides being a really cool guy with excellent taste in music, he is also one of the most talented creative people I know. Mixing his technical abilities with his creativity, he manages to deliver some really interesting works. Below is a little interview discussing his illustrations, his inability to track game and not telling his grandmother about the “666” tattoo…
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?
I’m revisiting the music of my people, so I’m kind of into Lamb of God, you know, heavy stuff. I was thinking earlier today how certain music ends up in your memory of certain projects. I did some work for SAFTAS this year, and I was based at their offices for a couple of weeks, so I had to listen to hectic Dieselboy mixes on the highway to keep me awake on the way home. Now those things have that weird association for me.
I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN, WHENEVER I HEAR “DEPECHE MODE – I JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH” I FEEL LIKE I’M 16 AGAIN AT THE SCHOOL DANCE ON A FRIDAY NIGHT. WEIRD. ANYWAY, YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS DON’T FOLLOW A SPECIFIC STYLE, CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS?
My favourite medium is still a slightly-leaky ballpoint pen but for the last few years I’ve been focussing more on vector illustration, both professionally and recreationally. I do a lot of animation so vector is more adaptable to that, but I enjoy anything that feels kind of organic and geometric at the same time. I’m becoming more fond of print design lately as things trend towards a hand-crafted aesthetic and this artisanal approach to everything becomes so mainstream. The monster/MAD magazine/skate graphic thing is huge at the moment and that’s like my whole childhood’s worth of school book drawing coming back again. I might even draw a hot lady on your schoolbag for you in Tippex if you buy me a toasted ham and cheese from the tuckshop.
THE “SEA MONSTER” ILLUSTRATION IS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY FAVORITES. THE SMALL DETAILS ON THE DIVER REALLY ADD TO THE ILLUSTRATION AS A WHOLE. TELL US ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATION…
“I met this guy online” sounds like the kind of story that could go anywhere but I did something for Monsters Holding Bitches print zine ‘Sea Monsters’ edition. The guy Patrick, who does it, is really cool and is generally hyped about art and now has a huge following and a ton of contact with that weirdo/monster scene on Instagram.
AND THE “666” TATTOO?
Look, I try not get carried away with this stuff, my grandmother wouldn’t approve, okay, but I guess that’s probably the “heavy metal” again.
THE LEGEND AND HISTORY BEHIND THE SAMURAI IS VERY FASCINATING. WAS THIS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE “SAMURAI” ILLUSTRATION?
I think it’s just one of those pieces you have to get out of your system. Like if you have a creative idea stuck in your head you need to execute something before it goes away. Sometimes if you spend too long before getting round to an idea, by the time you start, you don’t want to work on it anymore.
THE COLOR PALETTE FOR “FOREST CAMPER” MAKES THE OUTDOORS VERY INVITING. DO YOU HAVE A PALETTE IN MIND BEFORE YOU START AN ILLUSTRATION?
That’s a good question, I think in most cases, yes. If I’m setting out with a finished piece in mind I’ll have a look that I’d like it to end up with. I’ve definitely started pieces by matching a palette I’ve had at the back of my mind with a new idea, things happen that way quite often I guess.
ARE YOU AN OUTDOORS KIND OF GUY?
I have dogs so I get out with them all the time. It really does help you think actually. I can’t track game or make shelter or anything like that though as much as I’d like to think so.
YOU WORK AS A FREELANCER DOING GRAPHIC DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, ANIMATION, MOTION GRAPHICS AND 3D AS WELL. DO YOU FIND THAT THE SKILLS INVOLVED FOR THESE DISCIPLINES HELP YOU BE A BETTER GRAPHIC DESIGNER, ILLUSTRATOR, ANIMATOR ETC.?
Working in one discipline for too long creates the desire for balance in those other areas. I find that illustration work helps other areas out, but a lot of editing or 3D work definitely makes me want to draw something epic just to get back to something tangible and fun.
WHICH ONE OF THESE DISCIPLINES DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST?
Enjoyment is a weird thing as a ‘creative problem solver’ since it comes from making things work in the end. Highest average enjoyment value probably goes to animation work though it can be the most tiring.
AND PERSONAL WORK, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THAT?
I think it’s part of that balance thing, at the moment I’m on a really long-term project which is restrictive in a lot of ways so I can’t help myself from jamming a small photoshop project in between when it gets a bit tiresome. I’m good at wasting my own time. I do seem to stack up the most ideas when I don’t have any time to work on them, that’s the worst since when you get to idea #5 on the list you’re like “shit this sounds dumb now” and you’ve lost that frantic energy to capitalise on the vision. Do I sound like a maniac when I talk like that?
ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANYTHING NEW?
I’m working on some pixel art inspired things – it’s really enjoyable. It’s kind of taking me back down my computer gaming past. I believe that tighter constraints produce better art so this a nice way to bring out some new ideas for me.