Saturday, 12 April 2014

I Predict A Ryatt x Frank151

Davi Ryatt has a vivid imagination. Featuring depictions of Snow White burning Pinocchio after chopping him into pieces, the works of the young London illustrator teeter into macabre darkness.
Picking up a pencil back in his nursery days, when an infamous clown drawing set off conversations between teachers and gained him a gold star, Davi was always somehow working on something.
Deciding to then substitute his pencil in his teen years due to lack of encouragement for, well, more important teenage stuff, it wasn’t until he went to university and watched someone else absorb all the glory and reactions that he started illustrating again. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
From the artistic murder of Smurfs through to Mickey Mouse caught in a mousetrap, Davi’s emerging talent continues to grow, as does his inspiration, making him an illustrator to keep on your radar.
Tell us a bit about Davi Ryatt, before the art attack.
Davi Ryatt is a 23-year-old illustrator/artist (bit confused as to which one, can we be both?) living in London. Always loved to draw (believe it or not), love to eat too. Nothing like a good meal! In fact I can never draw on an empty stomach. I just remember drawing this clown; I always used to draw clowns, I don’t know why because they scare the heck out of me now. I guess even then my artwork meant a lot to me sentimentally. To this day I cringe every time someone says, “I’m interested in buying the original.” It’s like someone offering to buy your kids. These marks on paper are my children.
I drew a lot at home too. I remember my pops having to buy me those dot-to-dot drawing books instead of the coloring in ones because I hated the fact that the drawing was already done for me. I then went to secondary school, where I was considered a “wasted talent” by most teachers; I wasn’t a classroom favorite. I think my artwork took a dip here, as I didn’t really get the encouragement that I could do something successful with it. Long story short I ran through my education and decided to go to university after, with the belief in my mind that my dodgy illustrations wouldn’t get me anywhere, so I studied design instead.
I went from doing logos for friends to being invited to art exhibitions by Evisu and things just escalated on from there. It was like a drug. The more people told me they loved my stuff, the more I wanted to draw. I guess that’s my motivation, people’s reactions to my illustrations. That’s my moment, that’s when I say, “Davi you did alright, you know.”
What gets you in the mood/sets the backdrop for when you start working?
A good song or film. I’m like one of those people that can’t wait to open things that they just bought from the shops. I’d be walking my dog, and halfway down the road, the song I’m listening to will trigger an idea, and bam! I quickly start jogging, rushing home to get this idea on paper. My dog loves it but does look at me like, “Why have we started running?” He must see some sort of pattern…
Even then it’s a short window—by the time I get home and catch my breath I don’t feel like drawing anymore. It’s usually a sudden spark that makes me want to go and create something awesome. Loud music helps; when music is pumping I feel the urge to draw. It happens to me a lot in clubs. I also don’t really like drawing at desks. I’m usually slouched on my bed with a piece of paper and a graphic novel for support. I need to be relaxed, calm and on my own. Drawing is my thing, an intimate moment, I don’t want people to watch. I can’t draw if I’m thinking about drawing, it needs to flow and come naturally. I let my hands do the work and I just kind of sit there and watch.
Do you have a particular routine or process when producing your work?
Firstly the most difficult part of the procedure is trying to find paper. I know, I’m an artist without a paper supply. So the beginning part of a drawing involves me searching draws and sketchbooks for an empty sheet. What happens after is a secret!
You've gained quite a lot of recognition, especially in the UK. Tell us about your work with Sway?
Above all I am a massive Sway fan, ever since I was about 15, so this whole experience is surreal. It’s awesome enough working with a celebrity, but working with an idol is something special. I got in touch with him over Twitter and told him he inspired a lot of my work and that he should check it out. I didn’t expect a reply at all but he actually took the time to message me back and take a look at my website. And that’s how it kicked off, he said he loved my work and we should do something together. So that’s what we are doing at the moment. It’s strange, his music inspired my artwork, and now I’m doing artwork for his music…
What is the highlight of your career so far?
Hmmm, I’d have to say working with Sway. After hearing his voice on the radio and then suddenly on the other end of my phone, it’s a personal achievement.
What are your views on digital art and more modern approached to illustrating? I’m not gonna lie, I was against digital art, I saw it as cheating. I think because it meant anyone could do it, anyone can be an artist if they own a computer and Photoshop. It took away from what you created. And I was very proud of my lack of digital manipulation being able to say that my artwork is genuine and original.
Then I realized how daft I sounded. It was about moving with the times. Almost like a developed brush, a new available medium that we should embrace. The first brushes were made from sticks or wood shavings, now they’re all acrylic bristles and synthetic this and that. Digital art in my new opinion is just another step forward in the development of the brush. Now I hand draw all of my artwork, and color it in digitally. I still don’t draw it digitally, it takes the fun out of what I love—scratching away at a piece of paper late into the night. The best part about drawing on paper is you can do it wherever you like. Digital drawing seems like a job, sitting at a desk with a computer. I don’t really find that fun.
B.o.B described you as ‘dope.’ You must have been chuffed, right?
It all started with the animated video I made for his song “Don’t Let Me Fall.” The day I heard that song this little video played in my head, and I had been planning it ever since. I’d been looking for a way to branch out and try something different other than drawing pictures and sticking them on Facebook. It took me a month to do, with over 200 individual drawings, and a lot of amateur video editing, but finally I had made my three-minute video to this song I had fallen in love with earlier in the year, stuck it on YouTube and it got a good response. I thought it had peaked when it got to around 4,000 views and I was happy. Then one day I started getting tweets and YouTube comment notifications left right and center. Some of the tweets and comments said things like: “B.o.B sent me here,” “You know this guy is going to do well when B.o.B is shouting him out,” at which point I jumped onto Twitter and there it was in all of its glory, B.o.B’s tweet with my video attached: “Shout out to whoever animated this version of Don’t Let Me Fall.” Within a week I had 150,000 views on the video, which then grew to just under a quarter of a million before YouTube stopped play on mobile devices for copyright reasons.
Later on I got tickets to B.o.B’s concert at the O2 and even backstage passes to meet and greet! So obviously I told him after all this time I am the face to the “Don’t Let Me Fall” video, to which he said, “Ah that was dope,” before turning to his bouncers and saying,“This dude is dope.” I told him I’d be quoting that.
Do you feel your art is a reflection of society today or any social issues in particular?
Erm… some of it is. Sometimes I draw things when I have a point I want to make about society, like my drawing of the boy watching the man working for the council taking down a ‘No Ball Games’ sign, and replacing it with a sign saying ‘No Dreams Or Aspirations.’ That’s how I felt things were and still are going. No one says, “You can do this, you can become whatever you like” any more. It’s all about playing safe or trying to stop other people doing better than you. Take my time at school for example.
Other times I draw things that aren’t really politically motivated and people interpret it that way anyway. Like the Uncle Pennybags drawing. Everyone was like “It’s so clever the way you have depicted the corruption of banks and how they get away with things by using the get out of jail free card,” and I’m just like yeah sure, that’s what I was trying to do (not). It’s always good to make a statement, instead of always making jokes.
To me art means freedom. You get to break away from the standard way of everyday life, the routine bus journey, getting to places on time, and doing things by the book. Drawing lets me break from that and do what I want, draw the world how I want it and how I want to be seen in it. Anything is possible with art. You can have a world where Smurfs are used to produce blue paint! It’s not so much an escape, but a comfort that not everything needs to be structured. Drawing is my pint of beer after a long day.
Is there an underlying message behind Davi Ryatt’s art that we should know?
It’s about what you create, not how you create it. It’s all about the idea. I think this is where I fell out with my art teachers at school. To them it was all about the types of brushstrokes and the way you captured the feel of the glass vase sitting on a silk cloth in the middle of the classroom.
Art is about releasing imagination; not being afraid to record it on paper and let other people see the weird shit that goes on in your mind. Being able to imagine is something people take for granted, because believe it or not, not everyone can do it. This is where I think the difference between skill and talent is defined. Anyone can become a skilled artist. But imagination, that’s the factor I believe you are either born with or without, you can’t learn it or grow it no matter what people say. But people are afraid to show theirs, in case people judge or disregard them. Who cares? Do what you want. I painted a boy sewing angel wings into his back when I was at school. They said I should try something less bold, so I drew it in pencil instead.

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