~When I first came across Day-Z, I didn’t know what to think of her work. After 5 perplexed minutes of analysis, I got it. You might not get it at first either, but when you look more in depth into her art, you can interpret a much more deeper meaning behind them. Her work criticises and mocks modern-day pop culture. My favourite artwork from her is a toss between her ‘London Riots’ and ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ drawings. ‘London Riots’ is from 2014- the message behind it is pretty straight forward; it’s done in a sort of street art style. ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ contrarily is from 2 years ago and is produced more in a fine art kind of style. Upon viewing, it seems like it’s just a bewildered Dorothy in the foreground with some people on a lifeboat behind her. On the other hand, when you peel back the layers, you will see the same lifeboat you had earlier dismissed full of petrified refugees fleeing. What’s especially incredible about Day-Z, is her ability to alternate between street art to contemporary to almost digital-like illustrations ~
1) I’ve seen a fair share of other people’s opinions and summaries about your artwork, however I think it would be interesting to hear about what you personally think about your work. How would you describe the art you produce?
My work is fed by the world we live in and the beauty of the Old Masters works. Simply put, I depict modern culture and issues using traditional Fine Art drawing techniques I have learned and am still learning.
The current collection is about applying my drawing techniques to reinvent and apply our modern popular culture on to some of the greatest paintings from the past. I’ve then also used the familiarity of familiar fictional characters and made their worlds very different – and very dismal!
2) For someone who graduated in fine art, I personally find your artwork quite graphic based. Has that been a pathway you’ve made a decision to go down rather than conventional fine art, or would you say you like to combine the two opposing styles together in your artwork?
I don’t really see them as opposing, more complementary to one another because they are so different – I think that’s the beauty of it.
So it is a combination of the two – on the one side I experiment with the graphic style, and on the other I am in awe and inspired by the likes of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, which is evident in the form and detail of my work.
3) You have a very distinctive repertoire about your art pieces. How did you, in essence find your ‘own feet’ in this creative industry? What advice would you give to artists trying to establish their own art style?
I found my feet by walking around London visiting many galleries and exhibitions with my brother to see where and how my art would be best placed. Being both in the physical world either through street art or at shows combined with an online presence on social media has certainly helped. Advice I would give would be to find your favourite artists and learn from them whether it be through ideas or techniques.
4) Do you have any inspirations for your artwork, and if so, are there any particular artists you aspire to be like?
Mason Storm, Salvador Dali, Rembrandt all the greats.
5) Why do you choose to merge classic staples with urban aspects? What’s your reason for blurring the lines of specific genres of art; why break away from the stereotypes?
I am no Michelangelo, but when the Renaissance happened the artists looked to the classical era for inspiration. Likewise I am looking and learning from the best that has come before me and adapting it to the modern day to tell stories about our own time and current history.
6) Is producing art your full- time occupation or something you do for personal leisure?
Art is my life. All day, everyday.
7) Like many other artists, I’m sure you struggle with self belief and validation of your artwork at times in terms of perhaps your skills, abilities etc. How do you overcome these inner doubts about your artwork?
I’m sure every artist has moments of self-doubt but I am very fortunate to have a strong team behind me, from family, friends, and galleries.
8) What’s your intention behind the art you create? What do you want to convey through your artwork to society?
Sometimes I have a specific message in mind, like with ‘There’s no place like home’ Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz stands out colourfully against a backdrop of bleak and faded figures that represent refugees escaping off a lifeboat. The meaning lies in the title and alludes to the ongoing conversation surrounding this – a sensitive subject for sure. Other times, I start by drawing what I want to create and the intention or meaning can come after.
9) I’m an artist myself and struggle with the motivation to produce art a majority of the time. What helps motivate you to pick up a pencil and sketch even when you don’t particularly feel like it?
I usually listen to music and visit The National Gallery to motivate me, once I see the Old Masters it inspires me to be technically better. Lately it’s more about having the time to draw! It’s been a busy year with two solo shows – the latest with Beautiful Crime Gallery opening this month. I have all these ideas I want to create so when I have time to zone in on drawing, I embrace it.
10) Finally, I’m curious to find out- do you have any any future plans established for your artwork? Will you be releasing any collections or choose to go down a different pathway in art?
Currently I’m working on a secret new collection. That’s all I can say for now… Hopefully you will see and hear more about it in 2018
~Cleary Day-Z has an ambitious successful future ahead of her. We wish you all the best, and look forward to see what 2018 will bring. Day-z will be showing at ‘Collective’ a group show by Beautiful Crime and Eddie Lock at Herrick Gallery, 93 Mayfair W1L 9NQ from 16th – 24th March, so go and check that out if you’re interested~
Words by My Superiority Complex