20 Questions to David Dipré (http://daviddipre.blogspot.com/)
1: Who are you? David Dipré, Painter, Artist, Maker.
2: What is your background? As a child I was always drawing and only ever wanted to be an artist. Nothing has changed. I’ve tried to stop painting a couple of times, but there was no getting away from it.
3: Where were you born? Bexley (in the same maternity hospital as Kate Bush don’t ya know).
4: Explain your work in up to 40 words. The work is an attempt to somehow mirror the world and record the experience of being in it. I make portraits and self portraits as a way of carrying and plotting this information.
5: How has your practice changed over time? I’ve been working on this current body of work for the past twenty years. It’s an ongoing piece of research that is continually mutating, the subjects and the intentions are the same but the delivery builds on what’s already been achieved, the focus becomes clearer and yet the possibilities become broader. The process of refining throws up new challenges to get closer to the subject, so it is always changing.
6: Do you have a favourite medium to work in? Oil paint, though occasionally it does seem insufficient.
7: Do you pursue any themes? If so what? Portraits and self portraits mostly.
8: What other jobs have you done/do you do other than being an artist? I’ve been a Glass Decorator, run a French language business, done a fair amount of building work, renovated two houses and for the past eleven years most of my time has been spent taking care of our three children.
9: What research do you do for your art? The work is about observing and evaluating the world so the research is taking place all the time, whether washing up or walking down the street, these everyday experiences feed back and inform what I do in the studio. I take lots of photos of everyday objects in an attempt to encapsulate experiences of space and matter. I think of them as sketches or records of certain events, treating the camera as a kind of portable memory. I don’t work from these, but instead they are an experience in themselves, something seen and digested. The same applies to listening to music, if it’s at all inventive or challenging it can act as a parallel reference to our experiences, creating seemingly abstract versions of reality. It’s impossible to say how all of these things alter our perceptions, but as with any experience there is a knock on effect. If I unexpectedly let off a firework behind you, your whole day will be altered and so on and so on.
Drawing is something that I’ve returned to, having given up on it altogether for many years. It now acts as a useful cue to what I do in paint, the paintings themselves having become coloured drawings of some kind. I look at images all the time, in books, online, if there’s a concentration of the right kinds of images they can act as a helpful way of honing and defining possible approaches to working, but again, they are just references, not something that I would copy.
10: What makes you angry? Many things. TV commercials, dog shit, David Cameron’s PR facade, people’s desire to only copy/mimic and fit in, Simon Cowell, ignorant parking, lazy art, the list goes on. But rather than going on and on, I’d say that spinelessness, laziness and egotism are the categories into which most of my hates could go. In there you can chuck pointless celebrities and the horrific culture that promotes them. You can chuck in the dilution of culture that sucks in and farts out art and music like it’s a ready-meal, and you can also chuck in 99% of people’s ‘selfies’. Again, the list goes on.
11: What is your favourite colour? Orange.
12: What is your favourite piece that you have produced? I don’t really have an answer for this. Even when a work is complete it can still seem like a failure of sorts. There are pieces that I’ve made that sometimes seem successful, but at other times they can appear inadequate, that’s why I am always driven to make more work. I suppose I look at my work as an entire body rather than as individual triumphs, they all support each other.
13: What music/album are you currently listening to? Damogen Furies by Squarepusher.
14: What makes you happy? Seeing my family happy.
15: What are your favourite films? Once Upon a Time in America and Sleeper.
16: Favourite place? The studio.
17: One or more artists you like? Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti, Velázquez, De Kooning, Auerbach, Daumier.
18: What is your favourite word? Scone.
19: Professionally what is your goal? To gain the kind of gallery representation that would allow me to concentrate solely on making work. I’d like to be making much larger paintings, sculptures and installations than is currently possible.
20: What would your dream commission be? To design and create a large walled sculpture garden with paths and enclosures delineated by shaped hedges.