An interview with Dabs Myla
Dabs is a prolific illustrator and graffiti artist who spent his teenage years growing up in Melbourne in the Early 90s. The graffiti scene influenced him greatly in his style and technique. These days his characters come to life in more contextualized environments than ever before, whether they are painted on walls in the streets, or on canvases in the gallery.
Myla was also raised in Melbourne where she was obsessed with detailed painting and drawing from an early age. Throughout her life she continued to develop her artistic ways, and now concentrates on detailed cities and landscapes. Three years ago, along with Dabs, they combined forces to solely collaborate on their works together.
They currently live in Hollywood, spending everyday working on artworks, painting walls and being influenced by the wonders of their new city.
I recently had the pleasure of swinging by their studio as they prepared for their big ‘Golden Age’ show opening this Friday. While there I also got to catch them finishing up a nice mural on the streets just off of Hollywood Blvd near their studio/apt. In addition to that, pics are also included below from the mural install at New Puppy coming together.
Please talk a lil’ bit about the general idea/vibe behind your work and how you go about starting a piece, seeing as you work on a collaborative level together.
Our artwork is a fusion of a lot of different influences and styles that come from the two of us. Elements of our graffiti backgrounds, fine traditional illustrative techniques and our love of classic cartoons is all rolled together to make one chaotic bundle of fun!
We usually start our paintings from an idea that one of us has. We then build it into a drawing, slowly building up the characters and finding the right street scenes, landscapes or signs to photograph for the reference. Then we start painting. We paint on each picture together (a lot of the time at the same time!) and work on finishing the whole piece to look as harmonious as we can make it. Building a relationship between the two styles.
What are your earliest memories involving art or creating art?
MYLA: I think any memory I have from when I was very young, like 2 or 3, involved me at home drawing. My mom would lay out big sheets of paper on the kitchen floor and I would spend all day drawing on it until there was no space or time left!
DABS: I was totally obsessed with Disney cartoons as a kid. All the drawings I did when I was young was of Disney characters. My uncle is a huge collector of animation and comic art and I would spend my time at his house looking though books and watching cartoons.
If you had an unlimited budget and time was not an issue, what grand artistic vision would you two look to bring to life?
If time isn’t an issue and an unlimited budget? To be given access to a small city or town and to paint the whole thing top to bottom! Every car, every sign, every building, every house and a little face on every spoon in every restaurant! The whole shit!! Sure, it would take the rest of our lives, but it would really be something to see and a lot of fun!!
How did you two meet and what sparked the current direction of photorealistic buildings/cityscapes (by Myla) intermixed with the detailed character work (by Dabs)?
We met each other at art school about 6 years ago…by the time we had finished school we had fallen in love!! Originally we were working on our own paintings and would do collaborations here and there. But after time we found ourselves enjoying the collaborative work a lot more. That’s when we decided to combine powers and become one.
Do you listen to music while painting/drawing? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires?
We always listen to music while we work. Just a couple of days ago we made a playlist that was 346 songs long…and we listened to it over 2 days! Sometimes we feel sorry for our iPod! Poor little bastard never gets a break!! More recently Ween have been getting a lot of play, as well as the most recent Cage album…and we have been seriously revisiting an old long lost favorite ‘One Foot in the Grave’ by Beck.
Please name your three favorite things about Australia.
Aussie Rules Football, The Platypus and Australia’s all round awesomeness.
In your opinions, what are the two major differences between Australia and the US?
Australia has less guns, but American has more candy bars!
Please name three artists from Australia that everyone should check out.
Brett Whitley (www.brettwhiteley.org)
What do you consider your biggest overall influence?
It might sound cheesy, but on the real….each other!!
What have you got coming up in terms of shows in the coming year?
We are having a show called ‘Golden Age’ which opens this Fri, November 13th at New Puppy Gallery (2808 Elm St, Los Angeles 90006). We will be painting an installation on the walls and be exhibiting brand new works. Included in the exhibition will be a group show that we are curating. Its going to be a lot of fun!! We will also have some work in a show coming up in December at Thinkspace and more throughout 2010 with Thinkspace (watch for details soon).
Since living in LA, what have you found to be your favorite thing to do when not creating together?
There unfortunately isn’t much of that, but we do find the time to get away from our desks occasionally…and when we do, we love to go for a hike up through Griffith Park then balance that out with some In-N-Out burger delight!!
Featuring new works and a massive installation from Dabs Myla
+ a great group show curated by Dabs Myla and Dan Levy (see details on postcard image below)
THIS Fri, Nov. 13th 8-11PM
New Puppy Gallery
2808 Elm Street,Unit 1
Los Angeles,CA 90065
On view through Nov. 22nd