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Dale Grimshaw – an Interview

Dale Grimshaw is a London based representational figurative artist, who produces melancholic social realist oil paintings on canvas. His eerie portraits seem to bear a rather scary second nature of his subjects; something they probably prefer to hide. After studying at Blackburn College of Art Dale got off to a flying start. A few large commissions, competitions and a short jaunt into the music industry later Dale rapidly became one of the leading up-and- coming artists in the London Urban Art scene. On October 6, 2011 Dale will open his third solo show ‘Semi-Detached’ at Signal Gallery sporting a domestic theme. We met Dale to find out more about the artist behind the dark work.

How did you start your career?
I guess my first commercial venture rolled into production when I was very young, whilst still at school –drawing quick portraits of Adam Ant for girls in my class. Adam Ant bought some of my work from the Arcana show in 2010, so it completed the circle! I did creative stuff at home but I also painted punk record covers on the backs of leather jackets as a teenager. Looking back, all that fashion imagery seemed really tribal. Most kids would prefer to have a designer label or a logo by some god-awful, unethical company on their clothes these days.

On a more serious note, I sold my first canvases whilst at University in London.

What were your first projects/ideas?
I’ve always been interested in painting, mainly figurative art. We had a cheap copy of of John Constables ‘The Cornfield’ on our living room wall while I was growing up. I was fascinated by the narrative of the painting, along with the painterly-ness of it. Whilst living at an assessment center as a teenager I was encouraged to work big on the walls, I wish I had kept that up.

After that, I was influenced by the art on punk covers. One of my first serious themes was at Blackburn College of Art – I based all my work on my hatred of the meat industry and how we treat animals in The West. There were some woodcut prints, but mainly some big brash paintings of carcasses layered over collaged ten pound notes – it was all very over the top and obvious…somebody should have stopped me! Looking back though it was a damn sight more gutsy than what a lot of the other students were doing.

How did those ideas develop into what you do now?
In some of those early paintings there was a lot of painterly movement, lots of splashes, collage and texture too – this is in a similar vein, stylistically, to what I do now. They call it urban art now I guess.

My work just got more figurative after the early college days and that’s where it has stayed really. My work is at it’s best when it’s got a liveliness to it –I could never be just a straight-forward traditional figurative/portrait painter. I always have the urge to mix things up – if you give me an orchestra I’ll want to put them through wah wah peddles or add some punk musicians to the mix and vice versa.

People constantly compare me to predictable names in the urban art field but I did pretty much all the obvious stuff you could do with paint and figurative art over 15 years ago. It fucks me off.

by MAXI MEISSNER

To read the full interview and see more pictures go to No New Enemies



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