David Bray's illustrations are the kind that make you wonder what's swimming in the mind of its creator. David's depictions of pin-up girls with sinister stares and bleeding appendages, who (at times) are bound with chains or ropes, reveals an erotic fantasy world so beautiful and simultaneously haunting it's physically impossible to look away. In his upcoming show at Thinkspace titled The Return of Bad Wisdom, David continues to explore emotion and the macabre through his unattainable female form.
Here David takes time out to talk about the concept for his first solo show at the gallery, bondage, and Helmut Newton.
Platinum Cheese (PC): What concept are you exploring with your upcoming show The Return of Bad Wisdom?
David Bray (DB): The show is heavily influenced by the album 'Return of Bad Wisdom' by Georg Lubitzer. Its very feminine with a sensual fluidity, but with very dark undertones. It is like an audio version of a David Lynch movie. Given those elements (Lubitzer/Lynch) I decided to create 9 characters from this fantasy collaboration and imbue them with a strangeness, they are twisted pin-ups. Each drawing comes with its own box of 'bad wisdom' - really messed up collection of very bad and incorrect scribblings. I like the idea of art being tactile, so you have to open the boxes to delve deeper into the badness.
PC: The majority of your artwork focuses around the female figure. What's the reason behind this fascination?
DB: I'm a man. There was a time where I could'nt draw women, and I'm still trying to perfect it. It is an obsessional attempt at achieving perfection.
PC: Who are the women in your art? Are these portraits of women (friends, family) in your life who have inspired you or are they strictly an invention of your own?
DB: Its a mix of all three.
PC:There's subtle darkness within your pieces; women with bloody noses, melancholy expressions and hints of bondage. Is there an underlying personal narrative at play?
DB: Yep. As I type this I am crying into a handkerchief whilst my legs are being bound.. I am in love with the work of Eric Stanton, Helmut Newton, Egon Shiele and Allen Jones. My work is a response to those influences, trying to mimic their work. I am drawn to the shadows and darkness, and would rather avoid the sun!!
PC: You're known in London for your street art as well as your gallery work. What are your thoughts on the resurgence of street art and the current hype surrounding it?
DB: I have only done a few sporadic street pieces, and that was more about testing myself - if I could translate the work on paper to larger scale and in new environments. The pieces seemed to have been received well but I am not part of that scene. There are a lot of incredible street artists out there, creating fascinating and challenging art but there are a fare few dodgy ones too and I think in peoples excitement the quality filter seems to have been switched off.....
Anything that gets over hyped will face a backlash, and that will seperate the wheat from the chaff.
PC: Any plans to create a few murals during your visit in Los Angeles?
DB: Not this time round, I want to concentrate solely on the show - to get that correct.
I will be back in October though, so I am planning on a couple of pieces for then. Going to scout locations after the opening......
PC: If you could only hang one painting from art history in your home or studio, what would it be and why?
DB: If I could co-opt the Helmut Newton museum in Berlin as my home, that would be preferable. I'd rather live there than stick some art in here!!! I am sure the missus and the cats would be good with that!
PC: Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't necessarily know.
DB: In my youth, I was a champion swimmer.
PC: If I were to spend the day with David, what could I expect?
DB: A good time !! Actually thats setting the expectations high, so I will say - cold coffee, crap conversation, boredom, warm beer, bad films, shit music. Aim low, stay high!
Thanks David! The Return of Bad Wisdom opens Saturday, July 16th at Thinkspace Gallery. To learn more about David and his artwork, visit davidbray.eu.