Every month, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine chooses one of our favourite artists to TAKE OVER our social media for the day. Just in case you missed it, below we present the full TAKE OVER from our June artist, Fin DAC. Fin DAC is one of the world’s most recognised and creative urban artists. His work is full of incredible colours, a vibrancy that is alluring and connects you something bigger. A bold and intense emotion seeps from his larger than life piece as mysteriously stunning women that engage with the viewer from behind their masks. We are so grateful for artists like Fin that forge new pathways and open doors for other artists, inspiring them to follow their own path. So, of course, for us to be able to share some of Fin’s favourite works and his own inspirations is a great privilege for us today.
We welcome Fin (Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Issue 016 Cover Artist) to the Beautiful Bizarre pages for today’s TAKE OVER!
When I was asked to do the BB take over I was somewhat shocked… Why me of all people?’ I thought. That gave way to pride very quickly which then became apprehension with the crushing realisation that I had to find stuff to post. It would have been so easy to name my street art heroes like Conor Harrington, Herakut, Etam Crew, Inti et al… But that would have been a cop out because, in spite of the fact that it’s the work of artists like this that make me want to be a better artist, I couldn’t really say that any of them has influenced my work in any way at all. Their influence is on my mindset only… which can be very important of course but not relevant here.
It also would have been easy just to list the contemporary artists whose work I admire… but the majority of these would be already well known to followers of BB because our tastes collide and overlap regularly. So what would be the point? A rehash of artists and artwork already known would serve no purpose.
To understand my work I think you have to look outside the field that I operate in and look to things like illustration, graphic novels, photography, music and video… the influences come from all kinds of places. The process to narrow all this down to just a few posts has been troublesome to say the least because there are far too many artists, artworks, and creative outlets that I would like to mention but we don’t have the time or the space… trust me. But I’ve strived to choose things that maybe a lot of people haven’t ever seen or known but that still had a lasting impression on me. I’m sure that in a few days I’ll look at this and think ‘F**k I should have included…’ But maybe that can be said for all true artists whose influences or interests change from week to week?
So anyway, here goes nothing.
Mauricami on The Black Duke in Flint, Wales: Take an out-of-service cruise ship, a freezing wet Wales in the dead of winter and an image of a geisha that really shouldn’t work in this context and was painted where it couldn’t actually be viewed by the public… and yet somehow this piece changed my career?
4 days on a rickety ladder and lift, an estuary wind howling and whipping around the stern where I was painting, biting November cold, 9 layers of clothing just to keep warm (and sane)… honestly this should have been a complete disaster? But it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had as a painter. It’s by no means my best work and I can think of numerous pieces which technically are way better. But this is an example of something that transcends the difficulties in execution, the environment, everything. And it’s given something extra by a moody, dirty photograph by an old friend Annar 50.
I’m going to start with Aubrey simply because there’s an interesting anecdote to my own story in relation to him. He was the artist whose work I first really connected with. A pen and ink illustrator of books and novels from the turn of the 20th century, his work echoed Japanese style illustrations and woodcuts but focused heavily on the bizarre and decadent. In spite of the fact that he died tragically young (just 25), his work had a significant impact, revolutionized graphic art and still feels modern today. This image is just one of a series of illustrations from Oscar Wildes scandalous (for the times) ‘Salome’.
A few years ago, struggling to find my place in the urban art scene and searching for something to define my style, I came across an article online about ‘The Aesthetics’. Unknowingly to me, Beardsley was a leading player in the little known movement that supported the ’emphasis of aesthetic values more than social-political themes’. This statement/manifesto more than anything else helped me realise that I was struggling to fit in because I wasn’t meant to and that I should see it as a positive rather than a negative. The term Urban Aesthetics, which I use to this day to define my work, was coined as a modern-day tribute to that movement and all it stood for.
For me, a modern day equivalent of Hokusai insofar as everything about his work screams of old Japan. The subdued colour palette, delicate lines and soft almost melancholy renditions of female subject matter… I could lose myself in this stuff all day long. His attention to patterns and the elegance of his muses poses are things that I can only aspire to.
When I first started painting Asian imagery it was Jingna’s photography that leapt out from the browser… so much so that I reached out to her to ask permission to replicate a couple of them on the streets. This girl literally paints pictures with her camera. Not a fan of retouching, she must literally obsess over every detail to produce sublime, dreamlike fashion photos. Her work has been plagiarized by so many artists with no credit given at all and often with questionable results… but I’d still recognize her imagery anywhere. I’ve been lucky enough to maintain a fan/friendship with her over the years and even met her in NY (her adopted city).
The interesting thing about this photo is the fact that I know it was one of Jingna’s hardest shoots and one which almost made her give up completely… can you imagine? Look at it… it’s sublime??!!! I think it shows the creative turmoil that real artists put themselves through in order to better themselves and their output.
What we in England would call The Guvnor. A singular visionary and ultimate illustrator of dark, aggressive comic strip style work. Best known for his illustrative work on numerous Hunter Stockton Thompson books… but he is much more besides. I have so many of his books it’s ridiculous but his work on the 50th anniversary edition of Animal farm is just beyond the pale. I saw an exhibition of the work on the South Coast of England many years ago and it was completely eye opening. From someone who is prone to perfectionism, it was amazing to see these illustrations with mistakes and cover-ups still visible… but nothing detracting from the overall image. Genius is a word too often used but in this case.
I couldn’t do a take over without mentioning my love of graphic novels. As a child reading everything from Spider Man, Batman, Master of Kung Fu, 2000AD, even including stuff like Dan Dare (which I inherited from an older family friend), the different styles of illustration became ingrained in me and I aspired to become as good a designer/illustrator (it never happened btw). But with Arkham Asylum, Dave McKean took the genre into a strange hollow darkness that I love with a style that I had never seen before. It became an instant classic and even today, the work still stands up against the best in the field.
I almost hate to mention him simply because of what he seemed to become in later life: a blatant self-promoter who seemed to care more for his fame than his art and authenticity. In spite of what some may think or how it may seem, this is completely at odds to my own way of approaching things. But that said, in my youth Dali was a god amongst men. Seeing his Metamorphosis of Narcissus for the first time sent shockwaves through me… I was expecting a massive painting but it was tiny… no bigger than an A2 size of paper. But the detail was so perfect and clear? It made no sense to me how someone could paint this way but it had a huge impact on me.
Ok so this one is a little left of centre (as a choice) but to me this is the perfect mix of music and visuals. The only thing I can equate it to would be ‘synaesthesia for those who don’t have the condition’. When I first came across it, I was enthralled and then wanted to find out how it was done… it was like a coming-to-life of music and colour. Then I realised that it was far better to not know how it was achieved lest it spoil the effect for me. It’s a thing of true beauty both aurally and visually and I can’t think of many things in this world that are perfect on both those senses.
This is the last piece chosen by Fin DAC. I am rendered a little speechless at the amazing insight and honesty in today’s TAKE OVER. We are beyond grateful, thank you Fin!
Join us next month when we welcome Redd Walitzki to the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine TAKE OVER.