Name: DAVE BENNETT
Mission: TO EXPLORE, EXPAND, AND EXTERMINATE
One of my favourite things to do at the weekend in Bristol, is to visit the Harbourside Market. It’s a wonderful showcase of different local talents from jewellery makers, crocheters, bakers and artists. One rainy Saturday I was strolling along, when I saw some amazing art work I’d never spotted before and instantly fell in love.
Dave has always drawn. “I do it because my Mum encouraged me to do what I love, so I started painting and drawing. I’ve gotten slightly better at it over the years and have always preferred traditional mediums like pencils and brushes.” He completed a BA in Illustration and had his first national and international exhibition (which was held at the ‘Enterprise Exhibition’ in Brussels) in 2006 . Since then he has exhibited nearly twenty times around the UK.
Mostly using oils, Dave used to create large paintings full of colour and texture which explored the boundaries between figuration and abstraction. “”We use our eyes and minds to filter and interpret what we see, and to make sense of the world around us. For better or worse we generally do the same when looking at painting. I like to create works that explore the border between abstract and figurative, playing with the connections we make with images and forms, creating surreal worlds using familiar shapes and suggestive marks.” His paintings are open to the the viewer for interpretation and take inspiration from the simplicity and simultaneous complexity of nature and the dualities in life and art.
In January 2014 he moved to Bristol, and despite painting for nearly 10 years, his art doesn’t always pay the bills. “I’ve needed to supplement my income by working some god awful jobs including working in various call centres around the city. I feel we are not meant to be packing boxes 8-12 hours a day 5 days a week or sitting at a desk typing in pointless numbers for a pointless company. We are all too busy just trying to make ends meet that we have no time and are too tired for the larger issues of humanity.” To stop himself going mad he’s been drawing large elaborate biro drawings whilst helping people with their telephone enquires.
One of Dave’s inspirations for his art is Death. “We’re all stuck in space-time and we will all age and die, the Earth will die, the sun will die and best guess the universe and every atom in it will eventually fade out of existence. So my over riding motivation is the grim spectre of Death, stalking me with its cold ticking hands. It would be nice, at least in the short term, to leave some proof to following generations that we weren’t all greedy thoughtless morons that watched meaningless TV and consumed petrol based everything.”
In the last few years his work has become a lot more political and satirical, “simply because of all the lies and bullshit were are fed on a daily basis about issues such as War on Terror, Global Warming, and political correctness. Painting happy little trees or a nice sunset just doesn’t cut it for me any more. I’m filled with righteous fury. At least with my illustrations I feel that I need to represent that in some way and not just remain silent. The boundaries between freedom and slavery are getting blurrier all the time, so I use the only tools, I have pen and paper. I feel duty bound to highlight these issues and I want to show these overriding themes in my work. Laughter and ridicule are the only weapons us peasants have.”
When I asked what his proudest moment to date had been he said, “I don’t think looking back proudly is a good way to move forward, so I’m taking the fifth on that question. I tend to operate as a pessimist but maybe painting professionally for the last 10 years, I feel my proudest moments are hopefully still to come.”
Dave moved to Bristol with the hope of getting his art seen by a larger audience. “I had a painting shown in the itsalltoomuch gallery on Gloucester road over Christmas. I hope to start showing my paintings and drawings at other galleries in the near future. For now I continue to currently drag myself and my drawings down the Harbourside Market at the weekend.” He’s amassed quite an impressive collection of drawings and prints which are all very reasonably priced, so why not pop down and visit him? Please also can I encourage you to click on the pictures included with this feature so you can see all of the detail within each of Dave’s pieces.