darrenmenezes@icloud.com   07723 340591

 

Where are you located?

I’m located in Brighton on the South Coast of England. It’s now a City but I still think of it as a town. It’s a hub for creatives of all types. It’s known as the’ Silicon beach of the UK.

What is your educational background?

I didn’t complete my formal education, (creativity wasn’t encouraged). My School was engineered towards White Collar work, due it’s close proximity to London. (This was the mid 80s). I left school at 16 with minimal qualifications and drifted through the next 10 years with casual work. In my early 30s I enrolled into college, studying, illustration, journaling and mural painting.

How do you think your upbringing played a role in developing your creative point of view?

My parents allowed me a lot of freedom growing up, creatively speaking, to explore my immediate  environment, unaccompanied in the most part. Nature was my favourite teacher then, nourished by living next to a forest.

Parallel to this my Grandparents worked in London, so there were lots of opportunities for me to freely wander around London, in it’s way another kind of forest-jungle to young eyes. To this day this is why architecture features heavily in my work.

I like to give a nod to nature when appropriate, with skies and trees, sometimes adorning my architectural drawings.

Which artists, past or present, influence your work most?

The artists that most influence my work change, as I change, but there are two that have stayed with me. Firstly, Eric Ravilous an early 20th Century English artist who painted in the area I live in. His watercolour illustrations of the landscape around Sussex, never cease to amaze me.

My other big influence is the American artist Andrew Wyeth; All his working life he basically just painted in the area that he lived in, (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania). I feel I know his part of America through his paintings even though I have never been there.

When did you become serious about your work?

I became serious about my work 2 years ago; with a redundancy package I embarked on building myself a web presence and involving myself in projects related to the arts.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m co-supporting and mentoring 2 learning disabled artists in Brighton for Carousel. Over the Summer we have been working hard on setting up their first exhibition, Wonderland, which has been a big success: And a great experience for me, as I have been pushed into directions I don’t normally go.

CREATIVE PROCESS AND TECHNIQUE

I like to work in silence (no music), at least to begin with, when I’m trying to get my initial ideas and sketches onto paper. When I’m satisfied with the groundwork, it’s an espresso and away we go!

Executing the final details of a painting or illustration gives me the most pleasure, by that point in the painting I’m totally relaxed and absorbed. Ambient sound by then is no longer a distraction.

Seeing other people painting and drawing, totally inspires me. Long walks in nature inspire me, Spring and Autumn ( Fall ) being my favourite seasons to get the creative juices flowing.

Over time I have moved away from painting with vibrant colours as I feel the mood I’m trying to convey is best expressed in tones with hints of colour. I love thee quality of ink and watercolour, this the medium I’m most happy with.

Balancing the light and shadow are key elements for me in composition, too much of either and it loses it’s punch.

The Japanese pointed bamboo brushes are a favourite of mine, a very versatile all rounder, especially with watercolour.

Philosophy

For me creating is a temporal escape from a pressured World. In the midst of doing something creative, time disappears along with any negative feeling. Painting connects you to your core and you try to hold onto that as long as you can until inevitably the day to day things dilute it. But this is fine, as you are only as good as your last painting, and new ideas only begin flowing again once you move on from your last piece of work. It’s also great for keeping you mentally healthy, as with any creative pursuit, (even just tending a vegetable patch). Viewing art rather than a facsimile has the same effect, your viewing a physical imprint a feeling, sometimes from long ago. It’s timeless.

Business

Galleries have their place, as there’s no comparison to seeing the real thing, It’s visceral. Walking around it, standing back from it, side on to it. Smelling it, clearly seeing the brushstrokes, the overheard conversations and so on. None of this the internet can do as efficiently.

( Well not yet )

My advice for young and aspiring creatives? Don’t wait, just do it! For money, not for money and keep sketchbooks. Talent alone isn’t enough to help you be magically ‘discovered.’ You’ve got be in the market place, on and offline. It’s mysterious how things always work out with persistence to a craft.

Closing

Printing, linocuts and silk screen printing  are mediums I would love to try. I feel they would really suit my style of work.The best advice I’ve been given is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. (Your mistakes make you great). Breakthroughs happen because of them!

If you would like more information about purchasing prints/paintings, acquiring rights to use any of the images on this website, or have any enquiries about commissions, please contact me.

darrenmenezes@icloud.com 

07723 340591