David Bray

David Bray is a fascinating artist, an artist that perhaps at first look could be easy to dismiss such is the familiarity of the work he creates which is mostly ink and pen drawings on paper. Very few artists though can create such layers, such depth with just a humble pen and pencil. A lifetime of perfecting these most basic of skills has led David Bray to be labelled as "master of the ink pen", and when you take the time to look a little deeper into Bray's work it's hard not to get lost in the subversive, alternate, fantasy worlds his drawings depict.

David returns this week with a new exhibition and a new set of works at the equally out of this world Ben Oakley Gallery in Greenwich, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to have a chat with him all about his works, both new and old.

Hi David, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

My name is David Bray. I am an illustrator and artist, working mainly using pen and pencils.

You've created a style that is incredibly intricate and uniquely yours. What influenced that style and how long has it taken to perfect?
There have been so many influences, they all seem to spill out of a huge archive locked away in the deeper recesses of my mind. I've been drawing consistently since the age of 4, but obviously the subjects have changed and become more refined. I still don't think I have perfected it in any way, with each drawing there is a new lesson to be learnt, new ways of creating marks on a page.

Your artwork comes across as being very fantasy driven, is it hard to translate this side of things into your illustrations when working to a clients' needs? Do you see David Bray the artist and David Bray the illustrator as two separate entities?
Sometimes it's easier to work within the guidelines of a commercial brief, you know where the limits are and you can skirt on the edge.

I definitely view them as two separate disciplines, though they often feed off of each other. The marks I make in a personal piece will end up in commercial work and vice versa.

You started out using quite traditional materials, pencil, pens, paper, but more recently you seem to be exploring sculpture and other formats such as aerosol.
I'm quite a restless soul and get bored quite quickly, so new mediums are new challenges, something to get out of the house for.

Tell us a little bit about your latest show 'Far Out Is Not Far Enough' at the Ben Oakley Gallery.
It's a ramshackle collection of beautiful drawings. Really stretched the limits of my pencil case. Over 30 drawings, many different in style and medium, but encompassing and cross referencing the same four topics/themes. If that sounds vague I'm sorry. You'll just have to come see the show to make sense of it all.

Ben Oakley Gallery is a fantastic but rather unconventional and intimate gallery space, did this affect the creation of your work?
Definitely. It's an amazing space, really ramshackle in a beautiful way - the antithesis of a blank white box. The work for the show reflects this, hopefully it's beautifully ramshackle too.

You've created quite a lot of artwork for various musicians, especially within Dubstep. Is music a big passion and inspiration?
Music is my real passion, I'm a failed musician. I would love to be creating music but I'm terrible at it. So the next best thing is to be involved on the visual side of music. I used to DJ at a night in Kings Cross with various production. I was so bad at it, so clumsy, so they used to put crayons and sugar paper in the corner to keep me distracted.

Are there any working or emerging artists you currently admire?
Word to Mother. Conor Harrington, his work always blows me away and makes me feel inadequate on so many levels.

Once 'Far Out Is Not Far Enough' is out of the way what's next for David Bray?
Going to live in a hut in East Sussex with the wife for about a month, building fires and generally hoping all problems will simply go away.

Check out some of David's work in the gallery below, with images exclusive to Zeitgeist.

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  1. Thanks Sean great interview and the Show is excellent. Mr Bray sure knows how to lay it down.

    (Posted on 2012-04-19 09:19:00 by )

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