Today I am so happy to be posting this interview with the supremely talented Dave Bain. He has such an impressive range of work (more of which you can see on his website) and some absolutely stunning prints to buy in his shop. Dave was a few years ahead of me at University Collage Falmouth and it is so great to see how well he has been doing since then. Read on and get inspired....
Where do you live and how do you think it influences your work? Bristol has been my home for just over seven years now, since graduating from University Collage Falmouth. After the sleepy environment of coastal studying, I craved bustle and a wider creative community, which Bristol has in spadefuls. It’s still quite a relaxed city though, and there are a wonderful group of illustrators, designers, artists etc… often working together and certainly hanging out together - making for a fantastically collaborative atmosphere. It’s re-assuring knowing that there are people around, who I can reach out to for advice and support. The music scene is fantastic too.
Having a good creative environment has, of course, influenced my work. Seeing new artwork up close and being able to discuss methods of working and learn from others has fed into my practice. Collaborating with other artists on murals, live drawing events and commissions has led to rewarding results and been a great experience. Although, I firmly believe you can work anywhere, it helps to have an immediate culture of art around you, which you can visually tap into and be part of.
(A trio of artworks created for a Day of the Dead exhibition, which then led on to inspire my design for the Gromit Unleashed project)
(Wrap around design, hand-painted onto Gromit sculpture, which sold for £25,000 in the auction for charity)
How would you describe what you do? What I do evolves constantly and that’s important to me. I don’t like to pigeon-hole myself too much, as I’ve found that being open to taking on projects that I’ve not tackled before is a good challenge and better to attempt than to ignore. Sometimes those jobs have led to similar work and I’ve followed that path for a time. I work primarily in traditional mediums and always come back to that as much as I can and if a commission allows for that. Illustration is at the roots of what I do, even when authoring my own artworks, I can’t help enter an imaginary world of illustrating a concept, idea or story.
What are your tricks for getting inspired when you have a creative block? Getting away from “it” works well for me. I love music and so sticking on an album or a mix is a good escape. I collect records too and lucky enough to live with people who also enjoy playing music and listening to it at volume 11. Reading, free-association drawing, playing games and walking/cycling all help too. Conversations can lead to some interesting ideas or solve problems. A problem shared…
The worst thing, I find, is to agonise over a blank piece of paper. At the very least, standing up and getting a coffee before re-looking at something can be enough to reset the brain.
(Stage mural, hand-painted for The Gallimaufry)
(Drawing to commemorate one year of The Gallimaufry being open. This drawing was reproduced as a limited edition mini-print and given to all customers attending the one-year party)
What is your favourite project/piece that you have worked on and why? It’s really tough to pick out a favourite, as each project has it’s own merits. One ongoing client that I work with is local curios bar ‘The Gallimaufry’, who originally commissioned me to do a large mural across the back of their stage area, developing some characters that I’d created for an exhibition the year before. It was exciting to enlarge, what were originally quite small paintings and add new characters to that set and see them in the context of, what is, a very eclectic and fun bar/restaurant space. The Gallimaufry have continued to bring me back in to work on posters, drawings and other artworks, sometimes featuring the same characters. The prominence of the bar and it’s associated identity with my paintings has also led to other commissions.
If you could learn a new skill what would it be? I’d like to improve my digital illustration know-how, as I feel like I’m only scraping the surface sometimes. I’ve a long-term goal of having oil painting lessons from a master too or at least putting aside time to better learn that medium.
What is your favourite song right now? Crumbs! This changes often. I’m going to have to say a few, because picking just one doesn’t really cut it. I had the pleasure of seeing producer Ital Tek play recently and have been following his music a lot this year and this remix by Throwing Snow is a firm favourite:
‘Still On Fire’ from Trentemoller’s new album has been a good one for our kitchen (fierce)
And if there’s one tune I keep coming back to it’s this pitch perfect remix by DJ Koze of a classic Matthew Herbert tune
(Illustration promoting the Christmas volume of The Print Shop)
Which designers/artists/photographers get you super inspired and excited? I admire the career and work of Russell Cobb - his attitude to drawing and the way he works is prolific and wonderful to explore. I’ve been particularly inspired by many of the print-makers I’ve come in contact over the last year, while setting up The Print Shop (a pop-up shop) in Bristol, which is open until Christmas Eve.
How do you relax and unwind? Bad TV, good food (and bad food), friends, live music and a good boogie.
(Detail of illustration for a food market)
What is your top tip for life? Enjoy the journey and be yourself. Bit corny and I could witter on with other sentiments, but it would probably keep coming back to those thoughts.