Last week an email dropped into my mailbox from a new, young artist living in Edinburgh.
Dani Labrosse had been trying to find the name of the artist who painted the shutter near where he stays in Leith (it was Jamie Johnson’s on the shutters of the Game Exchange, by the way).
At the same time he let me know about a project he’s in the middle of too. And, it’s a damn good job he did, it’s very much in line with my current tastes!
The project titled “Bubblegum and Ritalin” invites photography submissions from just about anyone, that are then effectively drawn over by Dani, creating a composite illustration.
Dani said, “I’m inspired by a lot of neon-y 80s and 90s candy packaging and toys, the texture and the colors of my characters reminded me of that, they looked ‘bubblegum’-ish, I guess.”
“Ritalin is used to treat ADHD, and the characters in the pictures sort of look like they were made up by a hyperactive child, so Bubblegum and Ritalin sounded cool.”
It may well be a technique and effect that’s been road-tested before, but his results are really cool, and different to the sorts of things I’ve been checking out lately.
Everyone likes drawing on things, but I was interested to find out why Dani’s made it into his form of artistic expression.
“I started drawing on photos when I was like thirteen, we’d have photos of cavemen or whatever in our history books at school, I’d trace the outline of the pictures and make the people into aliens wearing Slayer, N.W.A. or Black Flag shirts, screaming obscenities and whatnot.”
“I think pretty much every kid does that. Later on I just found myself bored with the barrage of selfies on my Instagram dashboard, so I started drawing on photos to make them a little more interesting, a couple people liked it and started sending me stuff.”
“I’d trace the outline of the pictures and make the people into aliens wearing Slayer, N.W.A. or Black Flag shirts, screaming obscenities and whatnot.”
The strong contrast of the analogue imagery (in relative terms) to his vibrant and gaudy colour scheme is very effective, and almost seems to age the photographs. The natural shadow from the photograph combined with the bold illustrations is really nice and starts to bend your mind a little too.
Right now his technique is to draw everything by hand on paper and then composite and colour it digitally, but eventually he’s looking to make this a fully non-digital process.
Have a browse through Dani’s work, I thoroughly recommend his Shrigley-esque “GloomBeasts” – which will certainly give you a chuckle.
Find out more about Dani Labrosse, a young French Hungarian visual artist currently in Edinburgh, and keep an idea for an upcoming video project, the couple of seconds I’ve seen so far look to be promising…