Black Dave (UK)
Today, I have to thanx Baroness, not only because I discovered Mael de Narval with their show in Toulouse, but also because I also discovered Black Dave's work thanx to another one of their posters. Does this mean Baroness have great poster taste ? Maybe, but, most definitly, this means Dave Black drawings are stunning and this is the one and only reason why I am so glad to have him here !
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Today I'm listening to: Baroness:Yellow & Green, Hans Zimmer: Dark Knight Rises score, Testament:Demonic, The Replacements: Let It Be, The Misfits: Walk Among Us, Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger, Thin Lizzy: Black Rose, Torche: Songs for Singles, Kylesa: Static Tensions, Shannon &The Clams: Sleep Talk, The Detroit Cobras: Original Recordings &Daft Punk's Tron:Legacy score. Variety is the spice of life.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My names Dave Black aka BlackDave, I was born in London &raised in a small town about 60 miles south of there, as a little boy I would stare at the covers of my parents Vinyl collection, totally transfixed by this incredible artwork. As a teenager growing up in a small town I was surrounded by local bands looking to play shows, a singer &guitarist myself, my ambition, unfortunately, out-weighted my ability. Designing posters & t-shirts for bands was my way of being involved in this tiny little local scene & its really grown from there ever since.
When did you start drawing?
Like most people, I was pretty young when I started. The first thing I remember drawing was for school, after the weekend you would have to come in &write about what you'd got up to in your diary, & at the end you got to draw a picture to accompany whatever you'd written. One weekend we found a dead baby bird outside our house, which had fallen from a nest in the guttering or something. The picture that I drew had the bird plummeting to the ground with smoke rings chasing after it & I think the teacher thought it was pretty funny or disturbing maybe? Because I remember it getting shown to my parents who thought it was hysterical, they had it framed & on the wall when I was a kid.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
Yeah, most of my books were full of crazy doodles that I would draw during lessons, a lot of movie monsters & stuff like that. Academically, I could never get my head around it. Like most kids I didn't want to listen to what teachers had to tell me. So I didn't really purse it but in the back of mind I always knew I wanted to end up doing something that involved art & design. Stupid kid.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I tried to live off my art for a couple of years but I just ended up getting pretty disheartened &; lost. I work a regular job now & I find that because my free time is so precious, I'm a lot more productive with it.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I have done in the past but at the moment I'm not working on any magazine work. I'm always open to the opportunity though *hint*
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Really it comes from all over the place, I love the look & feel of old universal classic monster movies, I've always been interested in comic books, the music of the Misfits is a constant source of inspiration, vinyl covers had a huge impact early & still do. But to get specific about artists that inspire me, some of my favorites are: Drew Struzan, Brian Ewing, Ken Taylor, Justin Hampton, Mister Reusch, Scrojo, James Rheem Davis, John Dyer Baizley, Shepard Fairey, Hyrdo74, Tyler Stout, Guy Burwell &loads others but now I'm on the spot I can't think.
I'm always thinking about the next poster & how I can make my work better, you never know when that inspiration will strike. But then sometimes, I find, the design just kind of happens whilst I'm sketching. But most of the time, the principal step is trying to get the image that I see in my head down on paper.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
Mainly its all done by hand, I just color my work in the computer. I now draw all the components separately, scan them in & layer them in photoshop, that way if a design isn't working I can always play around with every aspect of the design & try different things.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Depending on how much free time I have it can take anywhere from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an for oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
When I was trying to make a living out of my artwork the thing that I realized is, just doing something for the money can be pretty soul destroying & can have a negative outcome on your attitude towards the work. Its not like I was making lots of money out of what I was doing. But, I was getting commissioned to design things that I wasn't interested in &was only doing it so I could pay the rent. It felt like my work was suffering & I ended up really hating something that I've always loved to do. So I stopped designing, got a 'real' job & didn't sit at my drawing board for about a year. Which was scary as I'd never 'broken up' with artwork before. Then, slowly, I started sketching again, just drawing stuff for me, which I hadn't done since I was a kid. These days I try to make sure that the work that I produce is a truer representation of who I am & I really feel like in the last couple of years, I've produced work that I'm actually proud of.
Most recently Baroness but I've also done work for Electric Frankenstein, Sepultura, Malefice, The Dickies, Squirtgun, Zolof the Rock n Roll Destroyer, Mike Tv.
For which band would you love to work?
Too many to choose, probably the one I'd like to do the most would be a Danzig-fronted Misfits but that will probably never happen. Current bands I'd like to work with would be Detroit Cobras, Torche, Kylesa, Dirty Sweet, Queens of the Stone Age. But I'd also love to design a mondo-type movie poster too!
Do you choose the artists yourself?
At the moment I'm contacting most of the bands I'm designing for. I'm looking to get my work out there in areas that excite me & hopefully attract similar bands.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
I think just getting that initial idea.
I love what's happening in the 'scene', gigposters are becoming more popular as an art-form. If you look at the underground success of mondo & the film posters their producing its, for me, an exciting time. But do I, personally, feel apart of a 'Graphic scene'? Not really. I've always felt like an outsider, like the Snake Plissken of gigposters: a one eyed loner with no depth perception. And I really feel like I'm still only just starting out.
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?
The best praise you received lately?
I think to be included with the other awesome designers you have on your site was a nice compliment.
What can we wish you for the future?
Health, Happiness & Misfits poster would be pretty sweet.
Thanks for the opportunity.