For the award-winning illustrator and artist, each artwork is an adventure into the unknown. “I admire those who can carefully plan and meticulously execute a painting,” he says. “But I think part of being an artist is understanding what makes you tick – and this is not how I work.”
David discovered his affinity for cut and paste and experimental methods as a graphic design student at London’s Central St Martins. “I like to stick things
down, paint over them – tinker with an image in a sort of trial-and-error manner to see what happens,” he adds.
“I have an idea of where I want to go, but I don’t know how I’m going to get there.”
As part of his studies, he created paintings and illustrations that confirmed his love for the purer aspects of image-making, which in turn led to an MA in illustration at the school and a successful career. His recent book design for the Folio Society’s Book of Ghost Stories was awarded the V&A Book Cover Design Award last year.
But his brooding mixed-media work Forest’s Edge forms part of series of personal paintings based on nature and landscapes, inspired by the north-east woodland he grew up near. Yet this paper cut and acrylic collage is not a rendering of specific place but, rather, a memory.
“I had an idea of creating a series of paintings based partly on the memories I have of these landscapes, which I have obscured and romanticised in my mind,” says David. “I enjoy creating landscapes from a more expressionistic angle, so it becomes quite a personal experience.”
The trees were first drawn onto card, cut out and painted. But David wanted a more ambiguous and moody feel for the painting, so worked into the image with acrylic paint. “Then I created another quite loose painting of the foreground area with the figures and combined them digitally,” he says. “At this stage, I decided I wanted to paint into it some more and so used a transfer process and transferred it to wood. I continued painting into the image using oils until I was happy with it.”
And the result is a clear illustration of the artist’s
talent for knowing just how and where to place the right materials to create hauntingly beautiful images.
David’s work can be found in the book Mix and Match: Exploring Contemporary Collage, published by Ginko Press, £40.99, on 25 May 2017. www.gingkopress.com;