UK-based fine artist, David Bray, will be opening his debut US solo show, Return of Bad Wisdom, at Thinkspace in Culver City This Saturday, July 16th. Using basic drawing tools, such as pens, pencils and paper, Bray creates delicate and time-consuming drawings which explore emotion, utopia and a world of fantasy through his subject matter of the beautiful and erotic, but unattainable female form.
An interview with David Bray
Please tell us a lil’ bit about yourself and your many alter egos.
My name sometimes is David Bray, I am 41. I have been working as a freelance illustrator since 1996 and an exhibiting artist since 2003. I’m quite a restless soul, and like to experiment and play with new techniques and mediums……..and I found it easier to ‘release’ these experiments under different guises as it didn’t muddy the waters of my main work – figurative drawing. The different guises all inform me as ‘David Bray’ , possibly subject, technique – always want to learn. All of this is about PLAY.
Can you share a lil’ bit about the themes behind your new body of work for ‘Return of Bad Wisdom‘.
It’s very inspired by 40’s and 50’s pin-ups, catholic religion, David Lynch, breathlessness, heels, black magic – all mixed up and presented in ink. Each drawing has a counter-point, a contrast which sits with the frame. Where as the portraits are hopefully detailed and complex, the counterpoint is a box of crude dumbness……these are the ‘bad wisdoms’
When did you know you wanted to follow the path of being a full-time artist?
For as long as I can remember. I’ve been surrounded by art and artists since I was born. My father worked at the Royal Academy of Arts so his life absorbed into ours. He used to allow us to wander the galleries before they were open to the public. There were no security guards on duty, and no cctv, so my brother and I could literally immerse ourselves into all this great art. I’m sure our behaviour was incorrect. Touching the paintings, licking a Picasso…..wrong and a little odd, but we were young! I never really spoke to my father about becoming an artist, but I knew I wanted to work in a creative field. I trained as a graphic designer, but was always interested in creating my own works……It all seems to have fallen into place in a series of happy accidents.
What fuels you to keep creating?
It is an addiction, an obsession.
Please describe your dream project if time and money were not issues.
It would involve huge reams of paper, an endless supply of pens, the sea, music with a lot of bass, sun, my wife and 8 paws
Favorite item in your studio?
The drawing desk. It needs a bit of attention as it has taken a bit of a beating……..
Please talk a little about the significance in this recent series of the recurring asthma inhaler?
There is a recurring theme of the asthma inhaler throughout. Hopefully the drawings capture an extreme beauty, something so beautiful that it takes your breath away – the inhalers are there as medicine, to help the viewer restore calm (in a virtual way, of course) its not my intention to make the viewer hyperventilate, but it’s a risk. I’ve provided a 2D safety net! Iave had some embroidered inhaler patches made, they are going to be handed to the first people through the door of Thinkspace on the opening night…..a cotton insurance policy! I hope thats not too nonsensical.
Is there anyone in particular, artist or otherwise, that you’d like to give a shout out to here?
There are a load of people, but I should say a big thanks to one of my oldest friends, Jonathan Peek. I had pretty much given up on drawing after art college, and was making photographic work and collages of sinister men in masks, and girls holding odd objects. All a bit unfulfilling. We were in a bar with some art on the wall, he pointed them out – said I could do better and that I should stop fucking around and get back to drawing. It really struck a chord. The next day I dug my pens out and haven’t looked back. To be honest, it’s the only wise thing he ever said to me, usually it’s complete nonsensical bollocks.
Any shows or special projects coming up after your exhibit with us here at Thinkspace you would like to mention?
I have a couple of things in the pipeline, one in negotiation and the other I am sworn to secrecy until it is unveiled. Which probably is not much of an answer but it’s worth the cloak and daggerness for now. Outside of the art thing, I am setting up an internet radio station…….which will be linked up to art and a broad range of artists.
Check out an interview just posted by Platinum Cheese with Bray here:
Take a look at the digital preview for Bray’s show here:
David Bray ‘Return of Bad Wisdom’
Reception with the artist:
TONIGHT – Sat, July 16th 5-8PM in our project room
Thinkspace / 6009 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA / www.thinkspacegallery.com