When we first featured UK artist David Bray on our blog, his work a looked a little different than it does now- immensely detailed mixed media on paper drawings, usually depicting figures in erotic displays. “The work I do is based on that punk ethos- punk with a small ‘p’. Just make something. Use what you’ve got. That’s why I use biro pens stolen from the bookies: paint with tippex, highlighters, stolen paint from DIY stores, found wood…whatever implement is available immediately, right now, no excuses. It’s about utilizing the ordinary and everyday to create something beautiful.”
Bray’s so-called shift in style brings his figures into a much more minimal world, rendered as black line drawings that recall the vintage babes that adorned sailor’s arms, highlighted by blocks of color. These simplified incarnations if his figures made a debut in his 2015 solo, “Wrong Turn”, featuring works made using basic drawing tools, such as pens, pencils and paper. His drawings not only found inspiration in vintage aesthetics, but also artists like Eric Gill, James Ensor, Eric Stanton, pop-culture characters like Bart Simpson, and the art of ancient Greece.
For his upcoming exhibition, “AMATEUR OCCULT CLUB”, Bray decided to expand on his taste for hand-poked tattoos, and make them the focal points of each piece, noting that he used more tiny details than in previous works. “The graphic and naive nature has always been present in my drawings- especially as the more ‘accidental’ and absent minded scribblings around the more expected pin-up style drawings,” he explained in an email to Hi-Fructose. “The ‘new style’ of work is taken from my love of tattoo and hand-poked tattoos. I needed a fresh challenge.”