Chatting With David Bray


David Bray’s fragile portraits convey a deep sense of fantasy and emotion. Sticking to traditional mediums he creates clean yet complex work that is unique, haunting and beautiful. I recently caught up with David so he could talk me through his inspiration and techniques.

So David, who are you and what do you do?
I’m David Bray. A 6ft5 bearded man. I do drawing. I draw as an illustrator and I draw as an artist.

What would you say is the biggest influence on your work?
There are so many influences, all the stuff I have seen and heard over the years. From artists like Richard Phillips, Richard Prince, The Pre-Raphaelites and Allen Jones; from illustrators like Eric Stanton and Charles Keeping; from photographers like Helmut Newton, Araki and Terry Richardson – I could go on, the list is endless. When I was growing up I didn’t have any posters on my wall, I had 3 drawings by an artist called Gertrude Hermes, a tiger, a gorilla and an elephant they were beautiful. I didn’t think about this much until the other day, but I guess thats where the seeds of my animal obsession were sown.

You have a big list of previous clients including Harvey Nichols and MTV, what’s been the most rewarding client to work for?
That’s a tough question. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone, so I should probably say all of them. I can feel that splinter in my arse. Using the term client in a loose fashion, I would say the stuff I do for Various Production. I have pretty much a free reign – and get the chance to take each project in the direction I am feeling at the time. Some work better than others, but its good to put the mistakes out as well – its a good way to learn, and it retains a warm human feel

In/on what mediums do you currently work?
I usually tend to work with pen/pencil on paper but I have started experimenting with spray paint and ink. Last week I completed two 8foot x 8foot marker pen drawings on wood, it was a challenge, one I was not sure I was up to, but it was exciting, at the moment I am happy with the results… To the point its all I can think about.

Has digital manipulation and digital coloring ever intrigued you to give up traditional methods all together?
The simple answer is no. I have a real fear of being stuck behind a computer – as lovely and necessary as computers are. I think computers take away the chance of those happy accidents.

Can you explain your alter ego’s?
I was always interested in musicians working under alter egos, putting stuff out under other names in different styles. This is my version of that. I am quite a restless individual, so I’m always trying different things out, new things – collage, photography, music. My website only actually showcases about half my alter egos. Maybe I should stick to one thing.

What do you have in store for 2010?
I have a show at stolenspace early next year, so I am starting to collate ideas, sketches and materials for that. I really want to do more large scale drawings. There is a zine on its way with the great Word to Mother. I have started a music site…..information free, just one track a month – with a compilation released January 2011 in some great packaging. Doing some tattoos, some tees and hopefully still allowed to play…

You can find more info on David Bray here.