I’m so excited to share my recent exclusive interview with one of my favorite artists in the world, David Walker! What makes him a TAE fav you ask? Well, when you face a wall covered with David Walker’s art, you don’t quite know where to look, you simply stand in amazement. His vibrant color palettes and freehand spray paint style is brilliant up close and becomes even more beatuiful and cohesive after taking a step back to appreciate the full scope of his talent. To me, the fact that he uses full scale buildings as his canvas makes him an even more intriguing artist, and I look forward to his new work like a child waiting for Christmas. For those of you who don’t know David, here is your chance! This world-famous street artist and creative visionary let TAE into his world for a bit! Read all of our Q and A’s from his exclusive interview with TAE…
Q The Art Elephant: I noticed that your work is mostly faces of typically women that are vivid in color, bright, and full of life. Has your style always been similar or has it changed a lot over the years?
A David Walker: My style has definitely evolved, I started using only black, white and pink as a palette for my work, so I could focus primarily on how to paint the portrait instead of decisions about color, I did this for over 2 years. Since then I have been experimenting with a much broader spectrum of colors but now I am pulling back again and working with a more limited range to see how it affects the work.
Q TAE: So what do you think has inspired your new creativity?
A DW: By nature the work is always in flux, you learn techniques, have happy accidents, grow more confident, your interests shift and so on, this is what makes painting so interesting to me. You can discover a new way to make a mark and this can influence a whole body of work and take you in a direction.
I began using women as subjects as it’s a good measure for painting, and portraiture always fascinated me. It just seemed like the most obvious and challenging place to start. It’s never easy, every face and painting are different.
Q TAE: That’s great! If you don’t mind my asking, that’s your secret to painting these detailed murals on such a large scale? Like, do you sketch on normal size paper before and then just go for it? ‘Cause what is simple for you to visualize is definitely mind boggling for millions of people, especially fans like myself. Can you describe your process so that we can comprehend how you create such amazingly large masterpieces?
A DW: I start by taking my photographs of the subject, then I grid up the image and use that as the reference to scale it up on the wall. I don’t use stencils or projectors as it prevents me from learning whats actually happening with the face. As I’m painting I learn how the face and image is constructed and personally I need this as it helps me understand how light and shade affect the face and how I can manipulate and play with this. I like to get the features in proportion as that allows me to go wild with the abstract elements, I keep adding and taking away marks until I feel its done or I’m over it, sometimes it works and sometime it doesn’t.
I never really know how its going to turn out and that’s what’s exciting! If I knew exactly what it was going to look like in the beginning I would never start. Large scale work looks daunting but you have way more margin for error. It takes me longer to paint a small canvas than huge wall.
Q TAE: Wow, that’s unbelievable! So, who do you chose for your models? Are they typically photographs or live models? People you know or strangers?
A DW: When I started, I used any imagery I could find from whatever source I could utilize. I just wanted to make the paintings and I didn’t want photo shoots and other stuff to get in the way. Now I shoot all the subjects myself. For my last show at Galerie Mathgoth in Paris and the next show at Robert Fontaine Gallery in Miami in May, all the portraits are people I’ve met over the last year or so in Berlin and on my travels. I don’t paint from life as models in a room full of spray paint is not the best enrollment.
Q TAE: Yeah, that’s probably not going to be good for people without masks on! Okay, so what or who is your perfect subject and why?
A DW: I never know my perfect subject until I meet them.
Q TAE: Like you, I am inspired by art and travel as well. That is the main reason I started The Art Elephant! So aside from your amazing work, I am incredibly interested in your lifestyle. Do you love traveling everywhere doing art? Is it your ideal situation? Would you say it’s hard work, vacation, or even mixture of both? How do you separate work from play?
A DW: There are times when I really enjoy being in one place and others when I can’t wait to get away. My ideal situation would be to live in the middle of nowhere for 6 months of the year and paint canvases, then spend the rest of my time traveling, painting murals and getting into trouble. Getting invited to go to different countries to paint is amazing, and I feel very lucky. I don’t like being a tourist, I’ve always felt that I need a reason to visit somewhere, so being able to experience a new place and leave something beautiful there seems like a fair trade. I go to lots of art shows, mostly museums and contemporary galleries, I like to see how the big boys play.
Q TAE: What is your inspiration lately? What are your goals, plans, for the new year? I anticipate 2014 as a huge year for art, not just for my own company but for artists everywhere, so I’m interested to know what you envision for the this year.
A DW: I have a solo show In Miami in May, another in London in December and a book coming out at some point this year, between that there are many other things happening, its exciting times, just trying to keep up and not fuck up. I always want to be able to make art, I want to push the work forward and eventually make real what I can see in my head and that’s what inspires me.
Q TAE: Sounds amazing! For all of your fans out there, what kind of advice can you give about being creative?
A DW: To me it’s simple. It’s all about the work, trust in your abilities, ignore all the bull shit and distractions and fashion and just focus on making the work. If you are not in front of the canvas or the wall or whatever it is you’re trying to tackle, then you deny yourself the possibility of anything happening.
Q TAE: That’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard yet! So when can we see you soon? Do you have any galleries or shows happening real soon?
A DW: Well, there’s Paris, Miami, Brussels, London, Brighton, Malta, Berlin, some other places then hopefully bed.
Wow, that’s a lot to look forward to! Thank you once again to David Walker for sharing his thoughts with The Art Elephant! Scroll down to check out some of his recent works below and you will see just why I love him:
Thanks for reading!!!