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Friday, May 15, 2009

Interview with Dan Hillier

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)Hello, I am Dan Hillier.

q) Where do you live and work?

a)I live and work in Hackney in North East London and I sell my work at the Sunday Upmarket in Brick Lane in East London

q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a)My prints are surreal collages of found Victoriana and my other work is mainly paintings/drawings of tree-headed people at the moment.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a)Probably when I was a child as it was the thing I was best at and enjoyed the most and received much encouragement for. Then I kind of forgot and remembered again a few years ago.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)Dip nib pen and ink - I love the delicate changes in the quality of line as well as the feeling that I'm drawing with utensils that have been used for hundreds of years.

q) What/who influences you most?

a)Old Victorian illustrations, anatomy books etc, music, whatever art I see and like, my own emotional back and forth. Hangovers.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a) Radio 4 / Spottify, mint tea, scanning through lots of books for potential images, scanning them in, playing around on photoshop, going for a run or a swim, hunching over a big piece of paper either sloshing wet ink around it or scratching tiny marks across it, mucking around on the internet, getting distracted.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)To keep going onwards and upwards and make better and better authentic art and make more money in the process so I can have more trips abroad and at home and drink fine wines.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)Whatever I come across that takes my fancy - a fair bit of illustration. I go to art galleries fairly regularly and take something from all of them. Seeing Giacometti's sculpture 'Hands Holding the Void' had a tremendous influence on my drawings.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)Depends. With the 'altered engravings' anything from a day to a few weeks. With the paintings I can do one in a day or, as with the last one, it can take 6 months.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a)I love selling the prints as I can replace them and keep selling them and it keeps me in coin. As for the drawings/paintings there's definitely a wrench to varying degrees but you have to let them go once they're done. It's very satisfying when I occasionally think about all the people around the world who have my pictures on their walls.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a)Very much so. I always listen to musoic as I work. At the moment I'm listening to all sorts as usual: Bjork, Boards of Canada, Neutral Milk Hotel, Smog, Slayer, Autechre, The Broken Family Band, Dan Mangan, Arvo Part, Mr Bungle, etc etc etc

q) Books?

a)I've just finished 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks and am now on 'All Quiet On The Western Front' by Eric Maria Remarque. They're both about life in the trenches in World War 1 and are both amazing. 'All Quiet...' is especially powerful as it was written by a man who served in the front lines. I recommend it to everyone. Everything Kurt Vonnegut Jnr wrote is brilliant. Herman Hesse is possibly my overall favourite, especially 'Narcissus and Goldmund'.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a)I need to just start working and take it from there. One of the biggest challenges to making art for me is to just sit my arse down and pick up a pen or start looking for collage material. From there it grows until I fret at how little time I have to get it all out and how many ideas pop up. Making art feels really magical sometimes, like I'm drawing out from unknown or barley known deeps, and at others is simply a fine way to play and spend some time.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a)Runnning, swimming, cycling about London Town, music, drinking, films, yoga, lazing.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a)I'm at the beginning of starting work on a series of 12 new prints which are darker and weirder than most of my stuff and I'm working on some new paintings too which are becoming increasingly personal.

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)Not really. I like to keep my hand in with shows and suchlike around town.

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.

a)What is the difference between a duck? One of its legs is both the same.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)Make sure your work is good, work hard at it, do what you love doing, go for your life, leave your job, stretch daily, drink lots of water, don't get arrested, cover your tracks, call your mother.

q) Where can we see more of your work online?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great interview, enjoyed the comments by mr hillier.

1:55 AM  

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