Dear reader, somewhere on this picture is hidden a little clue that should allows you to find out where does Dan comes from. If, after a long close look you still do not have any idea, then it is time for you now to go further in the interview. Another reason to read it, except the fact that Dan's posters are really terrific ? Very simple, if, like me, you like to read list of band names you never heard about before just for the pleasure to guess how they can sound like, the beginning of the interview is pure brain pleasure…
Hi, what's on my stereo? Lots of The Night Marchers, Hot Snakes, The Sultans (pretty much all the Swami/John Reis bands!) The Beastie Boys, Dan Sartain, The Bronx, Obits, The Peacocks, Jim Jones Revue, Mclusky, New Bomb Turks, The Thermals, Weezer, 65daysofstatic and often a lot of less well-known UK punkrock bands like The Computers and OK Pilot from Exeter, The Arteries from Swansea, Matadors from Leeds, Slow Science and Apologies, I Have None from London and The Dauntless Elite also from Leeds.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
When did you start drawing?
I am Dan Bowden, some of my work has my name on it, some stuff is under 'Needs More Snakes' I live in the awesome seaside town - Brighton in England, I am from a town called Rayleigh in Essex. I mainly design posters and do shirt designs for bands, though have done some other projects like covers of zines, books, some friends wedding invitations etc. I started drawing when I was a wee nipper, and did through my school years, but then had a good 10 year gap which I can't really explain...
I haven't had any drawing/design training since school, so pretty much self taught, and just improve by doing it a lot more, taking inspiration* from other artists and trying new things out until I find a style I like. I'm definitely still in the process of finding my style and trying to improve everything I do - from drawing, to layouts - to learning design packages on the computer. *massively ripping off?
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living?
My artwork is sadly only my part time job, currently my full time career is doing recruitment/HR work at a University - I was also studying on a part time postgrad diploma course over the last 4 years, as well as working full time, and doing an (occasional) band. Finding the time to do as much artwork as I'd like has been hard, but I've finished the course and no longer doing a band, so that's helped! One day I hope to increase time on art and decrease time in an office, but until then - I've got to pay bills/rent, so cram in as much drawing before work, at lunch, in evenings and weekends. I even draw on the beach on holiday, much to my wife Vix's dismay.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I often do the covers for Lights Go Out Zine, a punk fanzine in the UK. I contribute illustrations to Brighton Source Magazine, I'm hoping to do more bits like this in future - and am actually putting together an art zine at the moment with approx 10-15 other awesome artists from the poster/comic/illustration world in the UK (and one from Hungary). This new zine project will likely reach print in 2012 springtime.
There's tonnes of artists whose work I love, from UK artists like Drew Millward, Wethreeclub, Will Exley, gotvitaminc, and Russell Taysom to the incredibly obvious (but still incredible) artists overseas like Craig Horky. I think initially I was inspired by stuff like Sailor Jerry tattoos and Vince Rays artwork - and still love all the rock'n'roll aspects of both their work. I love surrealist art like Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali - I'll never have even 1% their imagination or ability, but I definitely take inspiration from that kind of artwork too. Closer to home, I was definitely encouraged by friends who do comic work in Brighton for the Underfire Comics collective - made me realise it's totally acceptable to still be drawing random stuff in your late twenties.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
idea > pencil > ink > scan > digitally manipulate / add text / tidy > (sometimes then seperate colours and screenprint...)
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
A blend of the two. Always.
Varies massively. From an afternoon to a couple of weeks...depends on mood, detail, and time constraints.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it?
I've worked with bands/clients briefs definitely - and don't mind this, though I do prefer coming up with the concepts/ideas myself. As long as there's some scope to make into my style and the client doesn't want me to do sometime completely polar to the usual style I work with I'm pretty flexible and enjoy 99% of the projects I do. I've had to say no to a couple of commissions I just didn't feel comfortable with or that I would be able to do what they wanted.
For which band have you already worked for?
Erm, quite a lot! Off the top of my head - Jim Jones Revue, Beatsteaks, The Peacocks, Misfits, The Minutes are some recent ones...
I'd love to do something for The Beastie Boys, Hot Snakes (Rick Frobergs art is very nice also), The Night Marchers, Future of The Left, The Thermals, The Bronx. Loads more, but they're some that spring to mind immediately...
Do you choose the artists yourself?
They usually contact me (via manager/promoter sometimes) but on a couple of occasions I've approached bands if they're doing a show near me or a UK tour and I really fancy designing something for them.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
For me, it's often finding a good chunk of time - sometimes I have to book a days leave from my day job.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
Main Portfolio site: http://www.danbowdendesign.co.uk/
Facebook Group for regular updates/nonsense: https://www.facebook.com/groups/179856922047307/
Brighton Illustrators Group page: http://brightonillustrators.co.uk/portfolios/illustrator/704/Dan_Bowden_portfolio
Being asked to do this interview was pretty nice I guess!
What can we wish you for the future?
Lots of good commissions for awesome bands and people I hope, and keep on improving my work. Lots of screenprinting via the awesome people at Parliament of Feathers studio in Brighton hopefully!
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!
Cheers, my pleasure, apologies for rambling!