An interview with Craig Davison

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BMX Wings

Official Website: www.craigdavisonart.com

Twitter: @CraigDavison10

Facebook: Craig Davison Art Official

Instagram: @craigdavison_art

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in 1965 in Sheffield and have always enjoyed drawing for as long as I can remember. Art was my favourite subject at school but once I left I took it no further

In the late 80’s I managed to get a job as a cartoonist, working on Pre-school comics,

Drawing every day improved my skills, and after a few years I moved on to work at a computer games company as an animator and games designer.

It was there I began sculpting reference figures for 3D animation.

This would ultimately lead to becoming a freelance sculptor, sculpting anything from Dragons to teddies, animals to action figures.

Years past and sculpting work was getting harder to come by, so I had to turn my back on art and took a job as a painter and decorator.

Maybe it was using brushes everyday that got me itching to try my hand oil painting, once I started I was very lucky that people liked what they saw.

I began to paint seriously from that point and local galleries started to sell my work, now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What inspired you to become an artist?

Necessity I guess,  art was one of the few things I could do well and enjoyed.

I’m pretty much unemployable in every other way, I consider myself very lucky that I make a living creating art .

How did the idea of childhood and fictional characters come about?

I had a very strong memory of playing Cowboys and Indians as a boy, I was convinced that I was at least a quarter Apache…so I wanted to try capture that feeling. My first ever painting was inspired by this childhood memory, it was a boy stood in a field with his bike, wearing a feather in his hair imagining he was a native American Indian.

The emotion that I had painting the image got to the people who saw it too, so I explored the idea of children’s imagination, I stripped out the background and added the shadow of the child’s alter ego, the idea’s flowed and I’m happy to say I’m still trying to keep up with them now…

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Cape Crimebuster

Do you want the viewer to feel that they are reliving their childhood when looking at your work?

Definitely, I think my paintings and prints become little windows that can help people back to their childhood dreams and aspirations.

I like to think that if your having a rough day, my images might manage to raise a smile and take you back to a time with less responsibilities and stresses.

Were there any artists that inspired your work?

When I was a kid Comic book artists were my first influences, including Jack Kirby, Mike McMahon and Brendan McCarthy.

But since I began painting, American illustrator N.C. Wyeth has probably had the most impact on my own work in both subject matter and colour schemes, I try to put as much of the adventure and excitement that are in his illustrations into my own work.

Other artists that inspire me are James Guthrie and George Bellows, alongside contemporary painters such as Yoshitomo Nara, Peter Howson, and Andrew Hem as well as photographers Don McCullin ,Esther Bubley and Sally Mann

Are there any hidden messages behind what the viewer can perceive straight away?

My paintings are straightforward and have no conscious hidden agenda, what you see is what you get. If someone can notice or get something else from my work, that’s great, it’s good they become personal to each individual and they can see or feel things I’d never imagined.

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Days Of Wonder

Are their certain techniques or styles that run through your work?

Any style I have is simply a by product of trying to improve my painting technique, I would love to be able to paint as well as say,…Whistler, I cant, so I have to play to my strength’s and they are rooted in my comic book and computer game background.

As for technique, I have so much to learn about painting it’s hard to understand how I work myself, I learn and forget something with every painting I make…..so I’ll get back to you on that one in a few years.

Can you categorize your work into an art movement?

I think my images are more illustration than art, and I have no problem with that.

Do you see your artwork changing its theme or direction?

My work is always moving forward in some way, in composition, colour or how I go about painting.

One thing I want to achieve is a looser style , I guess that will come in time…

I have plenty of new ideas that I want to get on canvas that don’t involve children or shadows, magicians and monkeys are things that are rattling around my brain right now, the problem I have is finding the time to fit them in.

But I will always continue to paint “Shadows” there are still lots of themes I want to explore, pirates is at the top of my list at the moment.

Are you working on anything at present?

A variation on the “Shadows” theme but stretching the idea to teenagers and musical influences, I wanted to look into all the youth cultures that were around in the UK in late 70’s and 80’s and push myself into a slightly more realistic style.

I’ve also been asked along with several other artists to contribute to an exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog,  I painted 4 different images involving Sonic and his enemies which was a nice break from what I normally paint, the event will be held in a London gallery in early December .

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Have you got any upcoming exhibitions?

No exhibitions as such, but I will be making appearances at a few galleries over this Autumn and Winter

In Cheltenham, Stoke Upon Trent, Cottingham and Leeds, go to my publishers website www.washingtongreen.co.uk for details

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Author: Helen Ingram

Self Published author, artist, interviewer and owner of New Art United