I met Hugh Rose aka DRED through Facebook and his artwork caught my eye right from the start! Character design, futuristic icons combined with reoccurring intricate patterns and a vivid visual imagination are the main elements of his creations. Here is what he shared with me:

Hello Hugh and welcome to EyeCandies. Tell us how many years have you been active in the art scene and how did you start?

I have been drawing since I was very young but at that time I didn’t think of it as art, I was just amused by the process of designing spaceships and characters to use in stories and games. I wanted to be a musician when I was in my teens, but I decided that I had more ability in art, so when I was 18 I started art college in Guernsey. I then progressed to The Institute of the Arts London, and studied sculpture. My art education was very concept-based, and at the time I was very influenced by the art of the Conceptualists and Minimalists, but by the final year I felt like I was going down the wrong path. I have been out of art college for 2 years now and have rebuilt my style from the ground up. I see my current work as a kind of synthesis of the more dry, concept-based work I made at college and the instinctive, imaginative drawings I made as a child, and I have noticed that there are themes and ideas that are present in all of my work. I’d say I’ve been officially active for about 2 years, but I’ve really taken my time to develop the work I am currently making, so I suppose you could call me a late bloomer.

Your designs are very detailed and I feel you have a thing for patterns. What inspires you and what do you want to express through your artwork?

I use a lot of patterns because they help me to absorb myself in the activity of making a piece of work, and because they relate to rhythm, which I feel is central to my understanding of composition and line. It’s a very hypnotic way of working and it helps me to be ‘in the moment’. All of my inspiration comes from the process, I like to see each drawing as a little adventure into the unknown, and I’d like the viewer to be able to experience that journey by looking at the work. I’ve described my work in the past as making a visual labyrinth in which the viewer gets lost, and finds their way out again. In general, I guess I like to appeal to people’s more childlike sensibilities.

What about graffiti? Do you still do murals and what is your opinion about street art in general?

Graffiti and spray-painting is just really good fun, especially in the summer, and working outside enables you to have contact with people as they watch you work, which is always very interesting, so I think I will always keep doing it. I should say that I have never been a graffiti artist; I live on a small island and you just can’t get away with painting illegally, but I love spray paint as a material, and I have been very influenced by learning the basics of letterforms and colour by copying pieces from ‘Subway Art’ by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant as a youngster.

A lot of my favourite artists are street artists, but I feel like street art as a movement is on the verge of turning into something different; it’s an exciting time.

On to another creative field you’re interested in. Customized vinyl toys! Can you talk to us about the creative procedure?

I use Uni POSCA markers and, more recently, Games Workshop model paints. Like all of my work, I prefer not to plan anything at all, I’m most comfortable just starting with the face and responding to the result. In fact, my best work has usually come about when a piece has started badly, and I have had to work very hard to rescue it. My tutor at college used to say “If you want to learn to swim, jump into the pool”. I don’t like to pussyfoot around a piece of work by sketching it out and planning it, I just jump in. If I make a mistake or something looks wrong, I try to find an inventive way to correct it.

I suppose about a third of the way through the process, I get a sense of who the character is, where they live and what they are, and the rest of the process is just bringing these characteristics out. I like them to have a sense of the magical, I think that helps to bring them to life, and there’s a real child-like satisfaction in achieving that.
Which was the most exciting exhibition you’ve participated in and what made it special?

I always look back on my first solo show, at CentreFold Gallery in Guernsey and wonder how I managed to pull it off! I had never tried anything so ambitious, and I really heaped challenges onto myself without a thought to whether I had the time or ability to meet them. I set up collaborations with other artists, I designed the flyer, I tried out lots of untested ideas in every piece, I even painted on the ceiling and on the visitor’s invitations. I think I got through it out of sheer arrogance to be honest! It is certainly something I am very proud of, and I’m still working with ideas that first appeared in that exhibition 2 years later.

Can you describe the ideal environment for you to work in?

I like to listen to minimal, bassy electronic music while I draw, either dubstep, dub techno or dubby drum and bass. My favourite producers are Shackleton, Pinch and Basic Channel. Here in the UK there is a lot of rich culture surrounding electronic dance music, and drawing for me is all about hypnotic, primal rhythms. I like to be standing and draw on a tilted drawing board, or lay a large piece out on the ground and kneel next to it like a little kid.

As I have mentioned I also love painting in the sun, especially at music festivals, and the collaborations that happen with other artists in that situation are always very enjoyable.

Share the top 5 favorite artists that have influenced you.

It’s very difficult to narrow it down, but it would look something like this:

  1. Tom Friedman
  2. James Marshall AKA Dalek
  3. Katsushika Hokusai
  4. Kris Kuksi
  5. Katsuhiro Otomo
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

The dream is to be able to spend all of my time drawing and painting. I’d love to show in Japan, design a commercially produced toy and feature in Juxtapoz Magazine.

In 10 years I see myself in my studio, still working hard.

Use a link to describe your current mood.

And lastly, is there anything you’d like to add?

If you post anything to Italy, make sure it is insured.

Don’t try to seal frames with Duck Tape, use gumstrip.

Always wear gloves when handling a blank vinyl toy; the oils in your skin will reject ink.

…and thanks very much for having me!

Thank you for participating and for your time!

LINKS: […]

- http://www.hughrose.co.uk

- http://www.readerswivescollective.com