We caught up with London-based artist and graphic designer Dex to talk about his work and inspiration.
How did you become an artist?
Art was my favourite subject at school, which led on to graphic design at Uni, which led to a career in advertising and TV production. Depending which hat I’m wearing, I am an illustrator, art director, storyboard artist, graphic designer. I co-founded Run For The Hills as an outlet for my graphic art prints and tee shirt designs. The creative itch is something you just have to scratch and it's taken me in many unusual directions.
Please take us through your average working day – what’s it like?
It depends what I'm doing. I am the Art Director of a TV production company and work on a lot of animation projects. When we've got a big job on, I'll be storyboarding and directing our team of animators. In at 9:30am and finish when we're finished, without stopping for lunch. Or I could be in our Run For The Hills studio (www.runforthehillslondon.com) with my creative partner Anna Burles, working on a taxidermy installation for one of her pop star clients. These are lazier days with delicious lunches. But right now I am working on a few pieces for our next art print collection, and when they're done I'll share them with you!
Is there anything that particularly inspires you?
Films, books, music, travel… I am particularly passionate about animation, the last thing I saw that I thought was amazing was the video to the Arctic Monkeys new track, "Do I Wanna Know."
How do you create your works? What’s the process and how long does it tend to take?
It starts with an idea, a concept, a sketch. Then I work using a Wacom in illustrator or photoshop. I like the crispness of vector art, and I tend not to use any shading unless it’s half tone. I like the pureness of black and white.
Can you please pick one of your works on Artfinder and tell us how you made it or what inspired it?
The Literary London Map is probably our most popular piece. It’s an intricate map of London made up of the names of literary characters, all plotted in the place they’re most associated. Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, Sweeney Todd at Fleet Street. Anna & I came up with the original concept after deciding we wanted to create a map of our beloved city. The centre was easy, but no one sets novels in West Ham or Brockley, and the research became harder the further out we went. It took a solid month creating the piece, with probably another month of research to find the names.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
Getting the very first proofs back from our fine art printer and loving the velvet blacks all over again.
Working all day on a piece only to find out it just doesn’t work. There are dozens of abandoned concepts and broken ideas for each finished work that I run limited prints from.
What is your favourite work of art and why?
Sakata Kaidō-maru wrestles with a giant carp by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. I love a lot of old 19th century Japanese woodblock print art, some of it looks so fresh and new, it could be contemporary graphic art.
If you have dinner with three artists, who would they be?
Saul Bass, Kuniyoshi, and Leonardo Da Vinci