If you've kept any kind of tabs on this site, David Apps needs no introduction...(everybody else: see the press release below). When David sent the info, I figured, "Why not post it here?" Whether you'll be in the neighborhood or not, this show seems like a logical extension of the '77 spirit, and in keeping with this site's art-centric doings, too...I may write a cleverer lead-in, once I get more sleep, but for now...feast your eyes on the proceedings, and spread the word accordingly. I sent David some questions, which he promptly answered...the results follow below.
CHAIRMAN RALPH (CR): Tell me how this show came about, and what you hope to accomplish with it. What do you want people to walk away with?
DAVID APPS (DA): The exhibition came about through a lovely lady I met two years ago while I was selling my work on Brick Lane (East London). She had seen my work evolving from predominately photography into art over the time period that our friendship grow. She now works at the Forge Arts Venue, in Camden, where the show is being held. It brings me back to the one thing I firmly believe in about life, and that is you got to be out there meeting people because that is how things begin to escalate. At the same time as putting a lot of hard work into pushing myself, it's not what you know but who you know.
The best thing I can accomplish from the show, apart from selling everything is to be picked up by art galleries and find new outlets for my work. At the end of the day I want people to walk away with something that they love, it makes them happy or at very least something they find to be thought provoking enough to hang on their wall to get a response from.
CR: What are some of the major influences on your art right now, and how did they impact the images that we'll be seeing?
DA: I never really have one influence; my ideas come from whereever I’ve been the week or two before. A photograph I’ve taken becomes the background for a design and then it’s built up into a work of art. I’ve just got back from Berlin (Germany) last week, and have come up with four new designs, based on the Berlin Wall, the 2nd World War and Russia. These I have added the same brightly coloured flowers along the same line as my Flowers over East London design and named the Flowers over Berlin, (simple but effective.) These will be on sale sometime in the near future.
CR: And, the inevitable: how do you see your art developing down the road?
DA: My work will develop naturally as I go on, I have seen this happen over the last two years. I can’t get away from the punk influence because this is all I know, AND love, but I understand myself and how my work is developing. I like to be provocative, in my fun way, I love using beautiful females in my work, and angelic images mixed with dark images, kind of Tim Burton meets Roy Lichtenstein. I basically do whatever I want to do and if people like it all the better, if they don’t then I can’t compromise, I simply don’t know how and even if I did try, I just can’t. it’s not in me to do something just because I want to make money.
After my London show I have my second Newcastle show, along with Hippo Screen printers at the beginning of June (don’t know the date yet) and I am also in talks with the guy who runs the Ramones museum in Berlin about showing my work alongside Gaye Advert's in June/July. I’ll keep you informed as and when I know more.
Please find enclosed a collection of works by David Apps photography & designs. Debut London exhibition 'London Projected' will be held on Sunday the 8th of May 2011 at The Forge arts venue 3-7 Delancey Street Camden NW17NL.
Born in April 1964, David grew up on the streets of Thames estuary Essex. Unable to sit still, David found an interest in art, though it was music that was to become his escape. By the time he’d reached his teens, the British punk explosion and the Sex Pistols DIY artwork of Jamie Reid captured David’s imagination and became a massive influence in his life. From this point all the way through to the mid-'90s, David played the drums and designed the artwork for numerous bands, including The Manufactured Articles, Asano Macabre, The Beat of The Beast and Spunky. By the time David reached thirty-five, he’d moved to Upton park, East London and set out to turn his life around, and began writing a book on his fun-packed life (entitled 'A Drum Beat Behind').
David bought himself a camera, and returned to the streets where he’d grown up to take pictures to use in his book, and photography soon began to take over his life, with his writing taking a backseat. Taking thousands of thought-provoking pictures of London and documenting the changing skylines of East London, the River Thames, the Olympic site before and as it was being built, David has continued to develop an eye to capture anything and anyone he takes a photo of in his own unique way.
Manipulating his photographs into designs, David will painstakingly re-work his imagery, adjusting, re-coloring and layering to build up his original, contemporary and striking works of art. ('Inspiration comes from everywhere’) -- a tattoo, his East London surroundings, or a beautiful female. In a life dominated with subversion, David will only use an image he has taken for his designs. His work is dark, angelic, evocative and kitsch. You cannot glance at his designs without wanting to look again.
More recently, David has discovered the potential of screenprinting to further realise his artistic vision. Once completed, each new design has its own one-off hand-made frame, which incorporates anything from polystyrene, plastic toys and crushed tin cans.
Each individual frame has become a very important part David’s work - please find images attached to view recent pieces.
David Apps limited edition hand pulled screenprints are available exclusively from:
Print publisher: Lynne Blackburn.
Last spring, David wrapped up another notable exhibition, which opened with a private viewing on March 22, at Stratford Circus (off Theatre Square, London), and ran until April 25. If you were in the neighborhood, you saw three floors of artwork, photos and screen prints. As David noted for The Wharf's March 22 advance writeup: "My biggest influence is punk rock music -- lots of punks now are doing art and poetry."
If nothing else, playing in bands showed him how to "put a little spanner in the works," he added, and "how to use the subversive to capture people's imaginations." A similar attitude runs through David's new black and white photo book, East End, East London -- which documents the changes that have overtaken the area where his father worked the docks (and, by sheer coincidence, ended up working in the same general area himself).
"As a kid, the area was so rough and so vibrant," David told The Wharf. "It's a completely different world today. East London used to be filthy and now it is completely cleaned up." The most interesting aspect, as the article makes clear, is how casually all these efforts started -- in this case, with David buying a small digital camera (circa 2000) to snap photos for his musical memoir: "It's back to punk rock ethos -- doing what you want to do."
And that's the essence of punk, isn't it? Plucking something out of thin air, creating under the gun to make something from nothing...all in all, a great object lesson for anyone contemplating similar things. We'll see what the next exhibition brings. Those who want to see the East End's transformation for themselves can order the book for £15, via this amazon.com link:
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