D*Face Comes to L.A.: British Street Artist Talks Advertising, Skating and Punk Rock
See more photos in Shannon Cottrell's slideshow, "D*Face in Los Angeles." Check out photos from D*Face's opening party in Shannon Cottrell's gallery "D*Face 'Going Nowhere Fast' Opens at Corey Helford Gallery."
Saturday night at Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, "Going Nowhere Fast," the latest show from D*Face, will open. It is the British street artist's first solo show in Los Angeles. He had previously appeared in group shows at the well-known gallery, including the 2009 event "Clowns!" where we caught his American Express parody, "American Depressed."
Early this week, D*Face and his team were spotted outside of the Culver City gallery working on a mural on an outside wall that references Roy Lichtenstein and the artists who influenced him. We were able to get some facetime with the semi-anonymous artist to discuss his work.
Yeah, I worked in advertising. I worked from the inside out. It was my escape from that world. It was design, illustration, and part of that was working with advertising brands and just seeing how those organizations are run and how you are manipulated in an unknown way most of the time. Even when you think you know, you're still being manipulated. I found it really interesting, I still find it really interesting today.
I like the idea of advertising being essentially the biggest vandals. They just display images. Nobody ever really has an agreement to that. Nobody really wants them to necessarily be there. There are a lot of parallels between that and street art. I like that concept, that there's one that is completely tolerated, but is really inappropriate in many ways, and the other being graffiti, which is very rarely tolerated, but an individual's craving release.
What I like to do is, I like to take what I call dead billboards, which are billboards that have either really old advertising on them or advertising that's been covered over-- they're just blank-- and then use my imagery to put them back up there, to offer people a different solution.
I'm not anti-brands in any way. I drink Coke and I wear Nike and I like those brands as what they are. What I don't like is blind faith, that that's the only solution, the only thing, and that's the only way. I just want people to question their environment and how much they surround themselves with and how much they have got and desire those things.
It's interesting that you mention that you aren't anti-brand. Street art does become a brand in a way, you have your name and certain styles you use.
Everything becomes brand if you analyze it or break it down into its components. With graffiti, you're putting your name out there. You put your name up and you put your imagery up there and what you essentially want is more people to see it. You want more people to recognize what you do. In a very similar way, that's how advertising works, on a very basic level. it's easy to draw that comparison, but that comparison can be drawn to anything where you start to indirectly promote what you do and attach a name to it. The only way around it would be to change what you do every time you do it, which is pretty much impossible. Anyone who does that is commendable.
It's not an easy thing to do.
No. By it's nature, I create what I like to create, things I find endearing. Therefore, I put them in a public space and that's what I started doing very early on just because I wanted to do it. It's a totally selfish act and it still is today. I produce what I want to see, what I like. If other people like it, that's a byproduct of my enjoyment and what I enjoy seeing. It's still a selfish act. So, to switch what I do every time would be impossible because I only have a limited amount of things that I like.