interview with DS


London-based DS has been showing his works around the UK as well as the continent via Affordable Art Fair & Art Helsinki. You can see his works in the upcoming London Fashion & Art Event in ICA (21.09). He talks to us about what inspries him, how commercialism and individual originality could co-exist/complement each other in graffiti art, and his future plans -


Pissed Panda


1. You say in your website you were fascinated by miniature design, Japanese animation & propaganda posters. What qualities in each of them do you fall in love with?

A: Propaganda posters and Japanese animation have a massive influence on my art. Stories and tension conveyed in a single image, the exploration of themes of violence and fragility, the use of epic characters are all aspects that I try and incorporate to my art. As for the miniature design, this is the reason for why I chose do stencil art. The wild art of the can is tamed, controlled & brought to solid form by a surgically hand-carved template creating levels of detail that would rival an airbrush.


Scuba - Amsterdam


2. Now that Banksy has gone truly global and has even hold a solo show in a council-owned venue, do you agree that stencil art has become "over main stream" and hijacked by commercialism or is there any emerging approach to reclaim the territory / agenda from the others back to the hands of the artists?

A: Acording to a graffiti purists, the day you step out of the shadows into the light of the gallery you’re a sell out. Any level after that your “over main stream.” I don't think its that black and white though, but there are mainstream parts of stencil art for sure though. The day Bansky started to get big, gorilla media companies used stencils to promote albums; Donnie Darko, Just Jack, even Puma had some out there. It’s all very basic stuff though and I’m not particularly worried about it undermining from my art nor do I feel it's been high jacked.


El Presidente


3. How do you feel about London in general as a platform for artists? What is the best parts of that and what makes you feel frustrated?

A: London's a great platform for so many different careers, art is definitely one of them. It's a city that loves art, so many spaces to view, buy and exhibit, be it on the streets, café or in a gallery there’s a place suited for you and your medium. It’s certainly shaped me as an artist. The flip side would be there is a lot of competition but that's always healthy, it keeps me on my toes and developing my art.


AK47 Camo


4. Do you have any future plans? What's next? 

A: I’ve got a lot of things coming up that are getting me excited. I’m designing T-shirts with the aim to bring out my own brand by early 2011 and soon should have a DS Art iPhone app too. Got a whole lot more in the pipeline too which I can’t yet reveal so keep your eyes out on my blog or twitter.


All images featured from the artist's homepage © DS


Further Readings -

Official website and twitter

Interview with Idol magazine

interview with zachary eastwood-bloom

from the artist's flickr page 
© Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

1. Can you talk a bit about how your art work begin? For instance, where do you start on pursuing this idea of 'space poetics'?
I have always been fascinated by the environment around me, how objects interact with each other, specifically buildings and the spaces they create. I was very lucky to study in three very different types of area, starting in industrial Yorkshire, going on to the classically inspired surroundings of Edinburgh and finally ending up in London’s metropolis. Each place has a very different feel and has inspired different bodies of work but the core enquiry remains the same, the resonance of object and space.




Works in progress in studio - from the artist's flickr page © Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

2. Are there any particular influences throughout your artistic career, e.g. other artists, certain types of music, certain social phenomenon etc.?

The ceramicist Martin Smith was a huge influence from the age of 18 and 10 years later he became one of my tutors at the RCA, he has absolute control over what can be a material with will of its own.  Artists such as Richard Serra, Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor and Peter Randall-Page have a monumental and yet investigative quality in their pieces which works beautifully. The scale of my work is something I would like to develop in the next few years.

 have never really considered music a direct influence upon my work until recently when I did a video piece with my brother who composes music, but music so often conveys some of the atmosphere I am trying to convey in my work, I’m think of artists such as Johann Johannsson and Steve Reich.

Black Folds at the RCA show 2010

3. Your works are partly materialised by employing digital technology, and they reflect this on their outlooks. How do you think about the relationship between technology and art? Do you think it helps you to bring out the message you want to say or do you sometimes struggle to find a way to interpret your feelings through technology?

Information Ate My Table at the RCA show 2010

"Making Of" video from the artist's flickr page © Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

The use of digital processes came about because I was looking into ideas of the real and the virtual and this hybridised space that is created somewhere between each idea, a space that we increasingly exist in. The digital processes I have used are used by designers on a daily basis but rarely by sculptors so this is a fairly fresh area of investigation, in some ways it feels as if there is a slight fear or mistrust of the digital in a sculptural context, there are artists such as Antony Gormley and Annie Cattrell who do explore digital process, but it is a minority. The relationship between art and technology is interesting because with each new technology a new context for works becomes available, how long will it be before artists sell works through the iPhone app store? For me employing digital technology works perfectly, I can be exacting and experimental at the same time.

4. Many established artists nowadays do not 'make' works by themselves any more and instead hire assistants to do that for them. Would you consider working with other people to create 'your' art? And do you think it is a new approach of art which is viable in future?

I have to work with others to make my work, I don’t yet have the luxury of owning my own rapid 您的瀏覽器可能無法支援顯示此圖片。 prototyping machine or CNC milling machine. I have done a lot of work at Object studios 
in north London working on milling aesthetics and making models, Information Ate My Table was made there as well as the models for the Folding Space series. For 21st Century Landscape Triptych it took four people to make each component because the material cured extremely quickly, so I envision working with assistants in the future. I think there can be a stage where your ambition 您的瀏覽器可能無法支援顯示此圖片。 outweighs you abilities but I wouldn’t like to get to the point like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst where you almost become a manager of your studio and not get your hands dirty. The managerial approach to art production works for artist who are in high demand but not necessarily for every artist.

Echo Shift (Bronze) at the RCA Show 2010

5. Do you have any future plans? What's next?

At the moment I am moving studio so as soon as I have the space I will be continuing this body of work. Information Ate My Table will be exhibited during design week in September and I am currently discussing future exhibitions with a couple of galleries for later this year and next year. I would love to get some public art and architectural commissions and make some larger monumental pieces.

Thanks Zac for spending the time for the interview and sharing his production images with us.



interview with martin lau


1. Can you talk a bit about how your art work begin?

I've always been drawn towards wanting to convey my emotional experiences in one art form or another. This started from when I was a small child, and wanted to translate my dreams into films, stories and plays.

2. From your website, you have crossed into various disciplines from photography to film to scuplture. What makes you to choose this multimedia path in your artistic career?

Tying in with your first question, as the completed artwork is always connected to a subjective experience in life, the medium, or the "craft" if you like is the pathway from one to the other - it's the means, rather than the end. I'll use whatever medium is appropriate to get the emotions across.

3. What inspires you to come up with the theme of this upcoming show - "Covered City"?

Man-made landscapes, construction and dereliction are long-term interests of mine. But very specifically, "Covered City" was inspired by stumbling across the huge "Noho" development in Fitzrovia at a stage when it was covered in scaffolding sheeting. I was quite awestruck by being in the midst of these shrouded towers, which I think of as "ghosts of the future", in that their finished form is yet to be revealed. They possess a form that is there incidentally rather than by design in a visual sense, nominally there to protect the works going on underneath, but having an aesthetic of their own. This served as the catalyst for taking note of other covered structures, though in the final exhibition, many are of that first construction site.

4. How do you feel about London in general as a platform for artists? What is the best parts of that and what makes you frustrated?

Whatever I might say now about that will probably be out of date by tomorrow. London is such an endlessly changing kaleidoscope physically, socially and culturally that it's hard to say much about it in general. Depending on where you are,  it can seem that you can't move for art and artists one moment, and then the next you're in a cultural desert without a gallery, theatre or library to be found. With art, as in many other areas, it's great that London offers so many opportunities. At the moment I'm finding that East London in particular has a thriving scene where people are interested in creating and seeing artwork. But it can be hard to get your work seen and appreciated beyond that niche, and when you're immersed in it there's a risk of losing perspective, with the result that you could end up preaching to the choir. Striking a balance between this and going for the lowest common denominator is a constant struggle.

5. Do you have any future plans? What's next?

I am planning the next show which will be a series in collaboration with another photographer, and further photographic series with a more narrative bent. I am also co-writing a feature film script.

Martin will be at the no-id gallery from 2-6pm on Sunday 23.05.2010 for his latest show, with other viewing times available by appointment.
(Image courtesy of Martin Lau and copyright reserved for the original author himself)

interview with daniel abbott

Q1: Hello, Dan. Can you talk a bit about how your art work begin?

I was always interested in art and design. I started drawing and painting with more of a direction and purpose in about 2003. It feels like everything from then until now has really been practice for what now seems to be developing into a consistent and interesting style. It's all learning though, I actually look forward to being older sometimes because if I look at work from 5 years ago compared to how it looks now, it's exciting to think about to how it might develop in the future. I think time, maturity and life experience really help when making art.

Q2: Are there any particular influences throughout your artistic career, e.g. other artists, certain types of music, certain social phenomenon etc.?

I've followed urban/street art a lot in recent years. Street artists have incredible ideas about how to attract attention. I'm fascinated by the layering and decay of spray paint and paste ups on walls and how work can be seen as temporary. If you look at a wall that has layers and layers of tags, half ripped down paste ups, showing other stuff underneath it kind of makes a really natural, organic composition that is near impossible to re-create. This is why I admire the work of Conor Harrington, an artist who has grown up with graffiti and urban art and can mix his knowledge of both this and an aptitude for oil painting as well to create incredible compositions on walls or canvas. I like the work of Will Barras, also a nice mix of more traditional skill and urban influence.

I'm always listening to music. I prefer anything experimental, or music that once pushed boundaries and is now influential. Music helps me concentrate and get lost in drawing or painting. It sections me off from the rest of the world when I'm in my studio.

As far as social phenomena are concerned. I don't think we can ignore technology these days. Sites such as Flickr are an invaluable resource for me as an artist, then there are all the other social networking sites, blogging etc., which have changed the way that many of us communicate, read and spend our time. My work is definitely influenced by technology from being in this mindset and also from the tools that I use to create art. I can achieve things with a computer that I couldn't do without one.

Personal experience is also a major influence. I've been to some pretty extreme places both physically and psychologically in recent times. I can only hope that these experiences can manifest them in the art and give my paintings and drawings content and emotion. Content is something I had previously struggled with, being an abstract artist.

This piece is one that reflects my personal experience:

Blue Death (C) Daniel Abbott 

Q3: About the abstract noodles/spaghetti/whatever that you paint, are they generated by any kind of consciousness? Or just "let-it-flow and beautiful" attempts? 

It's a relatively sub-concious way of working. I have the idea that I want to draw or paint shapes, and that I want them to end up in a relatively coherent composition. But, it's more about what feels right to put down on canvas or on paper at the time. The compositions come from working with layers of lines, shapes and doodles. If something looks bad, I can add another layer so that only some of what is underneath shows through. This way, I can achieve a certain depth and not get too bogged down with trying to make something look perfect first time.

Examples in a paiting of work that reflects this process are these:

Can't Stop (C) Daniel Abbott

Midnight II (C) Daniel Abbott

Squeeze-fin (C) Daniel Abbott

The way I work with digital images is much the same, I'll start with a drawing in my sketchbook, scan it in and then pick parts of the doodle, warp it, repeat it and layer it. Then I'll delete parts of it, or add parts of another drawing. It's all done in a pretty fluid motion though, without too much thinking or precise method. I end up with loads of layers and paths and stuff, so I can get a bit lost in Illustrator or Photoshop, but I prefer it this way. Haphazard and always welcoming accidents.

A good example of digital work that reflects this process is this one:

Symmetry Subtle Remix (C) Daniel Abbott

Q4: I know another artist moving from London to Bristol. You did the other way round. Can you share how you feel about the 2 places in terms of work/life/creativity etc.?

That's an interesting question. My friends in Bristol all manage to sustain their creativity there, and the city seems to have a massively creative vibe for it's size. I guess the community is more concentrated in Bristol.

In London, it's more difficult to enter these communities, but the city itself is an extraordinay metropolis with many influences that present themselves as inspiration as soon as you walk out the door. Whether it's the battle for space that Londoners are all subjected to, the diversity of cultures living in neighbouring areas of every borough, or the absolute wealth of exhibitions of art across all disciplines all the time.

Q5: Do you have any future plans? What's next?

I'm keeping my digital work going. I'm into T-shirts and printing at the moment. 

I'd like to assemble a sort of collective for doing exhibitions and collaborating on projects, so I'm on the lookout for artists that could work well alongside my style.

Thank you Daniel for sharing with us! :)

Official webpage -

interview with damien weighill

Interview with Damien Weighill about his multiple-faced blog & some more -  

Image from Damien's page

Q1: How did you get into illustrations in the beginning? Are you now a full-time illustrator?

I studied graphic design at uni which involved a fair bit of illustration. From the work I exhibited at our degree show I was lucky enough to pick up my first commission and got approached by an agent. After that I worked as graphic designer for 3 years working on illustration projects on the side. So far I've been making my living solely as an illustrator for just over a year.

Advertising Meeting by Damien Weighill.
Advertising Meeting - from Damien's flickr

Q2: Are there any particular influences throughout your artistic career, e.g. other artists, certain types of music, certain social phenomenon etc.?

I'm inspired by so much it would be impossible to single any one artist out but I guess the most consistent influence would be the people I spend most of my time with. I'm lucky enough to have a group of friends all pursuing various creative paths. There's no way I could sit back and see what they create without attempting to keep up.

yourface%5B1%5D.gif (490×272)
Banner of Damien's "Your Face" blog

Q3: Your 'yourfaceblog' started in Jan 2007 and I guess it's been doing quite well from all the people sending photos and various comments received. How the process work? How do you develop the character of each 'face' based on just a single photo people sending in? Do you ask them what they would like to 'look like' in your illustration?

Some people tell me a little about themselves and others send a blank email with photo attached but I usually just draw the first thing that comes into my head that amuses me. That could be inspired by something they wrote or maybe some little thing in the background of the photo but I don't really do requests. I think if I was just drawing from people's requests then I would have got bored of this project before it even got into double figures. There would also be a lot more portraits involving cats on the blog (and a lot less portraits with abundant facial hair). I get a frightening amount of emails from people telling me they like cats.

t-shirt by you.
The queen on T-shirt, available in a shop at Earlham Street or online

Q4: Of your commercial commissions, which one(s) do you enjoy the most in terms of overall experience, or final outcome?

There are a lot of commercial projects I've enjoyed working on but two recent projects come to mind first. 

A book I worked on for Conqueror paper - Coming up with ideas is the part of illustration that really interests me so this job was perfect. I was given a number of broad themes like Nature or Transport and then was given room to fill the book with hundreds of ideas.

Conqueror - Endless Possibilities - Spread 2
Image from Damien's page

Then there's the Giggle Party music video. Almost all of the time I'm working on projects on my own so it was really great to have someone else to throw in ideas into the ring that I would never have come up with and to take things in new directions (co-director and animator Stephen Wake). The music throws up some pretty crazy scenarios so it was a lot of fun getting together to try and match that in the visuals.

Q5: A more technical question - how much time (proportionately) in general you spend between hand-drawing and computer-illustration on your works?

90% Hand-drawing. 10% Computer. I keep my work in my head and sketchbook as much as possible. I mainly like to colour illustrations digitally because of the flexibility it allows and the fact it means I can spend less time colouring and more time focusing on the ideas.

Q6: Any future plans? What's next?

I've got superhuman powers when it comes to making plans, plotting and scheming so I'll stick to the most immediate ones. Next is salad - Most likely involving mozzarella and pine nuts. Then I've got a bit of an obsession with ideas for birthday/greeting cards. I just printed a couple ( and intend to print more as soon as I can. Oh, and portraits of course. Lots more portraits.

Further reading -
Damien's flickr collection
Damien's MySpace
Another interview Damien's done before with earlier this year