Artist Interview: Dan Mumford

[Author’s Note: This interview was originally printed, in German, in a 2014 edition of Virus Magazine. As with all of my interviews, instead of bombarding the reader with images, I prefer providing links to the artist’s website and social media, so that the reader can view and follow the work via the appropriate channels. Dan Mumford’s official website is www.dan-mumford.com. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.]

At what point in your life did you feel an inclination to create dark art, and was there a particular inspiration for that?

DM: Its pretty much just been something I’ve always been interested in. Growing up, I loved horror and Sci-Fi films, video games and comics, I also played in metal bands and was part of a really active music scene at home. It was just a natural thing to create artwork for as it fitted with everything i was interested in. As much as it might disappoint people though I actually just try to create beautiful artwork, that’s more important to me, and in my personal work these days the dark aspect is definitely toned down, and at the very least its more alluded to than actually graphically illustrated.

When you began to create darker art how was it received by your family and friends? Were your gifts encouraged?

DM: When I started to illustrate properly and had taken it up as an education choice and went to university, my family life became quite distant apart from my dad and sister, and they have only ever been supportive of me creating artwork. This was nothing to do with the artwork, just the status quo in my life at that time. I’m sure to an extent that fed into my work. I’m not sure my greater family quite understands what I do other than create art, but everyone has always been very supportive.

What do you feel distinguishes your style from others?

DM: I would like to think it’s the way I create art and compose an image. I also think my use of colour is quite distinct. I generally use quite vibrant colours where others might tone it down.

How long does an average project take, and do you prefer to work digitally or manually?

DM: I work almost entirely digitally these days. It’s easier and allows a lot more freedom. I love to create art with pen and ink, but the reality of it is that digital illustration technology allows me to do the same thing on a screen in a smoother way, and i don’t think it impacts my style at all. The transition from pen and paper to computer and tablet, for me, was pretty seamless. As far as how long it takes, that can vary wildly – from a couple of days to a whole month.

Do you listen to music while you’re working? Do you have any favorite songs?

DM: I actually tend to listen to podcasts or watch reruns of TV shows like Seinfeld in the background. Its a bit weird, but i really like to have something that you can just dip into and not focus on, comedy works well for that. It also takes my focus away from the image and allows me to get into a weird sort of trance like state with the work. I can’t really explain it, but it works for me, and before you know it, hours have passed. Music works too, but not as much these days, it washes over me.

Are there any artists out there who inspire you? Do you have a favorite?

DM: Of course, there are many amazing artists out there, too many to name, everyone working in the same world as me is amazing in their own way. Its a weird niche that only a few people understand, and it’s always nice to talk to fellow artists about it. If I were to name one artist though, James Jean has always been fascinating to me, incredibly beautiful work – He creates work that I can’t deconstruct. Most pieces of artwork I can look at and understand at least to an extent how they were created, but James Jean has such an incredible way of working that you just can’t replicate.

Which piece do you feel was the one that earned you the most recognition?

DM: It would have to be the Gallows artwork for ‘In The Belly of A Shark’. For some reason that piece just clicked with the masses. I’m always asked about it and I’m extremely proud of it. It captured a time and a place for myself and the band.

Of your whole gallery which piece is your favorite?

DM: I don’t have a favourite. I cant really answer that question easily. I struggle hugely with enjoying my artwork after its been produced. I can only ever see flaws where others wouldn’t even think about it. Its really annoying actually, and I’m slowly starting to overcome that. I’m proud of all the work I have released as prints in the last year, I think that’s the best answer I can give! Each one has been a stepping stone for me – learning and trying new techniques, and spending as much time as each piece needed on it without rushing anything. As a whole collection they are some of my favourite pieces.

Disqualifying commissions, are there any factors that influence how you choose your next art piece?

DM: Not really. I have a huge list of ideas and things I want to create. It generally comes down to what idea is feeling good for me at the moment when i have some free time. I try to move between a few personal pieces all at once, so that when one gets a bit stale I can take a break and move onto something else for a week or so.

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