First off, why the obsession with celebrities?
I love the term celebrity
as it is so broad, especially nowadays. I find that drawing someone that people recognise is really engaging. Everyone has at least someone that they love/like/loathe or follow, and I see my artwork as mostly a celebration of an icon, a hero, an unlikely/forgotten TV star, a dictator, a footballer, a dog, a Kanye West.
Kim: When did this penchant for drawing famous people start?
Dan: I guess towards the end of my degree, when I started making huge paintings of the late Kim Jong Il on old advertisement posters. A recognisable face combined with the advert and its original text became a sort of twisted propaganda message - I felt like I was on to something.
Kim: Have you got a particular favourite celebrity subject that you like drawing/painting?
Dan: I always love a good Tom Selleck, Hank Williams and David Byrne.
Kim: Throughout our time working together, I’ve known you to use a range of mediums in your art. Do you have a favourite?
Dan: I love painting when I have the time and the weather's dry to paint outside; there's nothing better than getting out all my favourite colours (I use pre-mixed house paint samples), sticking on some music and layering on paint, which I then scratch in to, digging though bits with colouring pencils, rubbing in oil bar crayons and then applying varnish.
I recently started making a lot of digital art, which I print onto acrylic. This has been an exciting new process to develop and has proven a successful alternative to physical painting.
I still love rummaging through car boots, flea markets and charity shops to find interesting frames, either to work with the existing prints inside, or completely adapt in to something new.
Kim: Are there any artists (contemporary or historical) that inspire you?
Dan: Contemporary wise: Danny Fox, Tyler Gross, Ben Jones, Dima Tattooer, Keith Shore, Faye Moorhouse, Oli Epp, Craigio Hopson, Liam Buckley...could go on...!!
Historical: Oskar Kokoschka, James Ensor, Elizabeth Peyton, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Alex Katz, Karen Kilimnik...to name some...
Kim: Your artwork tends to feature written descriptions, but your recent series of artist portraits do not. Why is this?
Dan: I wanted to try and use the imagery to tell a story and not rely on written captions. I did this by appropriating sections of their famous artworks and incorporating them in to my portraits.
For instance, in 'Basquiat Break', his jacket is made up of a section of one of his pieces, in 'Jackson's Diner, This Hangover's Pollocks', the dining table is a repeat pattern of one of his paintings and the specks of paint on his shirt and mug are from another of his works. I also wanted to build a narrative by dropping in references to the artist's past and history. In 'Dali Drink', I've featured a Chupa Chup lollypop- a brand whose logo Dali designed- and a sketch on a receipt, which was his occasional method of payment when wining and dining. Some of the references are more subtle, like in 'Hockney Breather' his tie is made up of a palm tree pattern taken from his 'A Bigger Splash' painting.
What have you got coming up?
Dan: I've got my third exhibition with End Of The Road festival 'Art Exhibition: an exhibition of art,' which I'm curating with a series of other artists and illustrators.
Coming soon there's an exhibition with Carnaby Street's 'We Built This City' artist shop, which takes place at the end of September. And a new show, 'It's Niche That' with 'Blue Shop Cottage' in November (Thursday 21st - Saturday 30th), where in addition to my drawings and paintings, I'll be exhibiting my limited clothing and ceramics range, involving puns.