DBG are thrilled to present artist D13ego's vibrant, multi-layered work. As an introduction to D13ego's artistic practice, Gallery Assistant Alexandra Olczak decided to delve deeper and reveal the hidden meanings beneath this exciting artist's complex artworks in interview.
Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean by your self-defined "Urban Pop" style?
Urban pop is what you’d get if Andy Warhol was born in Brick Lane.
I use street art techniques like spray painting and stencils; I draw inspiration from the metropolis I live in and throw in elements from the Pop culture for good measure.
I guess my work is as far as possible from a traditional landscape oil painting…
I like my art to bring out emotions and to do that I use big and bold colours. If you stand in the middle of Piccadilly Circus or Times Square you expect your senses to be hit from all angles.
Everyone wants a share of your sensorial attention, conscious or subliminal. I am an urban artist and I compete for that same sensorial attention. It may be ironic though that in order to knock down the wall of your imagination, I end up using a scalpel.
I understand you have a background in the finance industry - to what extent does this inform your practice? What else inspires your subjects and compositions?
Yes that’s true, I studied business in Milan and worked for 15 years in the City.
Finance has undoubtedly influenced my work; I often paint banknotes and financial themes. To some people money is the measure of evil, to others it is the measure of success. Either way, to most, money means something very real. Over the years I met a number of people who made money with their own smarts and hard work and who do like to celebrate their success. They collect my art for their homes, offices and board rooms to make a statement.
My passion for comic books and Asian culture also influences many of my compositions; with geishas, samurais and mangas becoming recurring themes.
Generally speaking I paint subjects I would happily hang on my own walls. I like to keep it varied, interesting and real.
Do you have a preferred medium?
Spray and comics. Spray paint is a constant in my work. I grew up in 1980s Italy when graffiti started to be cool and I was immediately bewitched by the possibilities. My short stint as a comic book artist also made me appreciate high contrast images, halftones and vibrant colours. You can often see these elements in my work. I prefer canvas to any other surface as it gives me the flexibility to paint on almost any size/shape.
I am also constantly experimenting with new techniques and materials and I found my nemesis in epoxy glue. While I love the final effect of an epoxy coating on vibrant colours, I find this material extremely hard to keep clean.
I have a beautiful cat, Nikka, who always comes investigating what I am doing in the studio and you may be able to spot the odd hair encased forever in the epoxy coat of some of my works!
I’ll keep en eye out for that… What would you like audiences to take away from your work?
You mean, apart from the artwork itself? I would like them to identify with the style and subject… “so cool, that’s so me”.
I believe my (loosely defined) generation more than others, kept a foot in the past and one in the future. I like combining retro, hand made, analogical work with elements of modern living, images and technology.
I think it’s cool that in a world that goes faster and faster someone spends hours hand cutting and spraying a stencil. I like to think my audience appreciate this combination.
Do you have a "motto" that defines your aims/motivations as an artist?
“Follow your dreams.” I was pushed by my parents to study maths and business when I was 17 , but art was in fact my biggest passion. I went through with it but I promised them I would be a professional artist before I’d turn 40. I never forgot those words and in 2013, just before my big 40th birthday, my promise came through.
I resigned from my banking career, packed my Bloomberg and started painting. Most people thought I had lost the plot but you are lucky enough to be able to follow your dreams you must. Else be prepared to live a life of regrets.
D13ego’s work will feature at our upcoming Summer Group Show, Home Is Where the Art Is…’ opening on Thursday 30th June 6-8pm. The artist himself will also be in attendance.
Join us simply by RSVPing to: firstname.lastname@example.org