“IT IS MORE ABOUT WHAT IT IS TO BE A CHILD AT THE POINT WHEN ANYTHING SEEMS POSSIBLE” – ARTIST: CRAIG DAVISON
Q1. What inspired your passion for art and who has been supporting you from the beginning?
Drawing is something I have always enjoyed for as long as I remember, and as a child I was always reading comics and watching animated TV series, so I guess cartoons have always been a big inspiration.
My parents encouraged my drawing throughout my childhood, and then my wife Mandy in adult life.
Q2. Have you always aspired to be artist, or did you ever dream of following a different path?
Oddly enough I never wanted to do anything directly linked to art, I thought I had a calling to be a printer for a time, but work experience at a local printers soon taught me otherwise.
I took lots of jobs after leaving school, from factory work to a lifeguard but it was the birth of our first child that truly motivated me. I realised I had to provide for my family from there on, so doing something I had a talent for and enjoyed might be a good idea.
I read an article in a local newspaper about a businessman who produced a The Shoe People, a preschool TV series and all its spin offs, including a comic.
I thought I would chance it and sent in some sketches, a few days later I got a phone call and the next week was working as a cartoonist.
It was great getting a wage for drawing every day. The deadlines were very tight but it encouraged me to learn quickly, it was there I learnt the discipline of art as a career.
Q3. Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to tell us about?
I have created several paintings of a young girl on a buffalo and I want to expand on the idea and see where it leads me.
I usually start on a painting and it will spark another idea so, I end up with something I never intended but that’s what I enjoy about what I do, so I never plan too far ahead.
I have also started painting figures with hats hovering above their heads (don’t ask me why!) which I am really enjoying so that’s something else I want to explore.
"A Life Bionic"
Q4. Your work where the children are standing in front, with their aspirations of being superheroes behind them is one of my favorite concepts for a work of art. How did this idea come about and where do draw these idea from?
All the paintings are in some way my own memories as a child and while there is certainly a nostalgic feel to them, it is much more about what it is to be a child at the point when anything seems possible.
The idea took shape from my very first painting which was made around six years ago.
It was titled “Crazy Horse” and was an image of a boy stood in a meadow with a feather in his hair and his bike at his feet.
People really liked the image but I wanted to get inside the child’s head , so I stripped away the background and added the shadow of an Apache Indian.
The concept snowballed and ideas are never a problem. I only hope I get chance to put them all on canvas!
Q5. What would you say is the public’s most popular piece of yours and why?
I couldn’t say it is one particular image but without a doubt the “Shadow” pictures are the most popular.
When I first painted them I thought it would be men around the same age as myself that related to it so, I was happily surprised that the audience was much wider.
I think the reason behind it is pretty simple; everyone for the most part has happy memories of their childhood. The paintings help them visit those memories taking them back, so the problems of living in the adult world are forgotten for a little while.
Q6. What is your own favorite piece and why?
That’s a very difficult question to answer, by the time I finish a painting I am glad to see the back of it and all I see for a long time are the flaws.
But as I am being asked, I would have to say, “You Called Commissioner Gordon? I like its simplicity.
With my background as a cartoonist, I am always looking for the most straight forward route to get a message across.
Q7. You have been a cartoonist, an animator and now a painter. Where do you see yourself going next?
I have only been painting in oils for the last six years so, I have a long way to go and still feel very much a beginner.
I also spent a long time as a freelance sculptor so that is something I like to return to now and then.
As for new challenges, taxidermy is something that has always fascinated me. I would like to try it on a small scale, maybe start with a sparrow and work my way up to a moose!
"Yeehah! The Return of The Magnificant Seven"
Q8. What are the hardships that come with being a full-time artist?
It is a very solitary job for the most part and everything begins and ends with yourself so that can be mentally taxing.
Q9. What is the greatest thing about working as an artist?
In some ways it’s the flipside of the last answer, you have total control so when something does go right you have a huge sense of achievement.
Q10. From your experience in the arts, what advice could you offer people looking to get to succeed in a similar field?
I think having a talent is always a good place to start.
Hard work also plays a big part, but the most important thing is to never give up. You will have plenty of knockbacks but it is determination that will get you through those times. I never had any art training myself so it is not essential to have a formal art education.
But, if I had my time over I would go to Art College. It would have been interesting to be exposed to other influences and techniques.
I consider myself lucky that I am rubbish at everything else! I had no other option but to draw for a living.
"Spider Sense Tingling"
Q11. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in a similar field?
This is where I have very little knowledge. One thing I would say is practice every chance you get, and if you can, take life drawing classes even if it’s one evening a week.
That should give you the foundation to for any career in art.
Q12. When trying to get your work in galleries, what advice can you give.
(How to present work, attitude etc..)
Do your research and understand how galleries work before you start to contact any. Find a gallery that will hopefully suit your work,
they will help you get the best price, the right setting for your paintings and most importantly the clients. It is easy now to send images to galleries via e-mail so if you can get a response and you’re asked to take some of your work in person you are half way there.
Personally, I don’t think there is necessarily a right way to present your art, it should be as individual as the artist with regards to how much effort you put into it. I think I took my paintings in bubble wrap and bin bags! Painting good art should be your focus.
As for attitude, again I think that is down to the individual, but being pleasant will always help.
Q13. From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
The business side of art is not something that comes naturally to me but it is something that I am learning.
Another thing is balancing what you would like to paint and what actually sells. You have to sell a painting if you want to paint another one. I am very grateful that my “Shadow” paintings have struck a chord with people and the success of those images allows me to paint more personal work which may not have such a wide appeal.
"You Called Commissioner Gordon"
Q14. What are you doing to get yourself noticed and make yourself stand out from the many other artists in UK and the world?
I have always tried to paint subjects that are off the beaten track rather than follow trends, hopefully that helps you stand out from the crowd straight away.
Getting people to see your work is probably the most important thing, that is why I made the decision to sign with a publishing company. They release all my prints and have the means to publicize me nationwide which frees me up from much of the business side of what I do and leaves me more time to paint.
The internet is brilliant for getting your work to a wide audience either by a website or social media.
Q15. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
Without a doubt selling my first painting and every one since. It’s like a pat on the back every time….Craig’s website: http://www.craigdavisonart.com/