Designer Portrait: Dave White

En af mine all-time yndlings kunstnere, engelske Dave White, besøgte i weekenden København for at åbne sin nye udstilling ”Monochrome” hos Galleri Jules Julian. Jeg kiggede nærmere på en udstilling af rene tegninger tegnet med kul, noget vi ikke tidligere har set fra Dave. Med en øl i den ene hånd og fish n’ chips i den anden, satte jeg mig ned sammen med Dave og fik en snak om både nye og tidligere værker. Læs vores snak nedenfor – på engelsk i dagens anledning.

One of my all-time favourite artists, English Dave White, visited last weekend Copenhagen for the opening of his new exhibition “Monochrome” at Galleri Jules Julian. I had a closer look at the exhibition of pure drawings drawn with charcoal, something we have not seen from Dave before. With a beer in one hand and fish n ‘chips in the other, I sat down with Dave and had a chat about both new and previous works.

Bungalow5 Dave White Monochrome at Jules Julian 002


Bungalow5 Dave White Monochrome at Jules Julian 003


Start by telling us about what is the motivation for your new works “Monochrome”? You are known for the use of many colours, and now you concentrated on only working with coal, why?

The new works entitled monochrome are all depicted using charcoal; I have never exhibited a show of pure drawings before and wanted to give the viewers a chance to see another side of my work.

There is something very pure and direct and beautiful about drawing it’s the purest form of depiction. Charcoal is a medium I used to use and have revisited it. As you say my work is very colourful and has a distinct style. What I loved about exploring drawings once again is, you can’t rely on your techniques for painting, my explosive application and drips aren’t possible with charcoal, so the speed and dynamism has to be captured through marks and lines it is a pure direct medium with no room for error. My intent is to capture the spontaneity and dynamism of animals looking alive and animated.

Bungalow5 Dave White Monochrome

Looking to your previous work; the sneakers, the cheeseburgers, the comics, the weapons, are media over-covered items in our society. Why did you choose these subjects for your paintings?

All of my past series of works have been based on things I have a deep connection with in some way or another, things I find incredibly beautiful aesthetically to look at, or things that moved me as a child. The weapon series explored the strange aesthetic beauty of objects designed to kill and how abstract they are taken out of context.


The way you paint and your style is really spectacular. How would you describe your style? Which techniques do you use and what do that allow you?

The best way to describe my work is a tightrope walk of spontaneous expression and chaos counterbalanced with control and order. If one or the other dominates the work would fail.

As a young man studying Art I connected with oil paint and watercolour straight away, there is nothing forced in my work, for me it’s the same as breathing. My style has always been there over the 20 years I have been working, refining and evolving. I don’t think when I work and just become at one with whatever I am doing. If my hand slows down I know that the piece is done. I have an incredibly deep relationship with a piece, but once completed, it is placed away and I am on to the next one.


Do other artists influence you? If so, what artists had an influence on you, your work, and why did they?

I wouldn’t say anyone has influenced me. Obviously when I studied I was wowed by other artist’s work, as the discovery of new people and their journeys is a massive source of inspiration. However, these days I have a great deal of respect for hundreds of artists and if I had to give you my top 5 it would be Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Takashi Murakami, Roy Lichtenstein, Picasso.


Part of your work is devoted to the military world (weapons, vehicles, bullets, etc.). Where did you get that fascination for the war universe?  Is there a taste for the beauty or a denunciation will?

Firstly, it is very important to get across that I don’t condone the use of unnecessary violence that weapons of war inflict. But since being a child I have been obsessed with the incredible beauty I find in them. The contradiction that something designed to kill, can be so beautiful through its line and shape, colour and pattern I find endlessly interesting.


It seems like you have been very fascinated by animals the last few years. We saw a few in your Americana collection and then the whole Natural Selection! Why the change from the military, sneakers and women we’ve seen earlier? Some might say it is getting a bit softer, more feminine with the animals! Are you getting softer on older days?

Animals are something I had used as a subject matter over 20 years ago and they crept back into my work totally unintentionally, The Americana work explored the importance and respect animals have in Native American culture and how we can take for granted that these incredible things inhabit our world.  However, with the pace of life and information overload, animals seem incredibly abstract, you know they exist and take for granted they are there and always will be, but that’s not the case.

However, the more research I did into animal numbers, it was horrifying to find how few of specific creatures are left. That sent me on the current series of works entitled Natural Selection.  A play on words suggesting extinction.

You pick up on a softer side and I guess that comes intentionally when depicting something that’s incredible small and pretty such as a humming bird, but I like to switch it up and enlarge small things to present and make the viewer re engage.  Then in my current works the depiction of Great White sharks shows how beautiful they are, which contradicts their persona.

Bungalow5 Dave White Favorites


You have painted various objects, i.e. weapons, sneakers, animals, native Indians, what’s next? Will you continue with these or will we see a new direction from you in the future, can you tell us what you are going to do now?

The most important aspect to me is to keep pushing and I love how one never stops learning their craft. For instance, the charcoal works in the show have had a profound influence on the new paintings and pushed them further forward. Painting is like speaking a language it takes a lifetime to master, and I am only as good as my last piece, which spurs me forward.

Although some series do connect logically others have none and I love that, it is about influence and inspiration, the creative spark that moves one to make something visual.

I have some ideas where the seed has been planted already and look forward to them coming alive, however, you will have to wait and see!


We have enjoyed your work many times in Copenhagen with Gallery Jules Julian. Do you a special connection to Copenhagen?

Copenhagen is a wonderful city and I love visiting it, From Architecture to Design, Food and Culture it really is fantastic and it’s people so warm and receptive. I always look forward to returning, and it is always a pleasure and an honour to show my work with Sara and Galleri Jules Julian. I hope everyone enjoys the show.

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply
    2013 in review: The Interviews ‹ Bungalow5
    December 27, 2013 at 10:47

    […] 01 | Designer Portrait: Dave White. 02 | Designer Portrait: Jakob Hundborg. 03 | Designer Portrait: Johannes Torpe. 04 | Designer Portrait: Ida Lærke Hansen. 05 | Designer Portrait: GamFratesi […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.