May 16, 2010

Seize the Dayglo!

Or Happy Bastard Birthday Ya Massive Slice of Smilyness
An Interview with Artist Robert Walker on the occasion of he and Dylan Riley’s 2-man show:
‘The Day The World Turned Dayglo’

Part 2 of 2 (link to Part 1)
Click on any picture to enlarge
(noting we’ve positioned Robert's {pictured below on the right} pieces to the LEFT and Dylan’s {pictured below on the left} to the RIGHT)

Robert, when I first found out about the show, there was a really interesting ‘plug’ included namely that ‘the concept of the show is for both artists to explore the idea of living within their own work and how the individual may perceive what’s around them during this period’, which you touched on a bit before. If you could phrase it maybe a little more in layman’s terms (read: so that I can understand you), what are you trying to say here?

Oh wow, that’s a good question, mate. What I’m trying to say Ziggy is – well…

When a ‘maker’ has an idea in mind it seems at first to be only in the maker’s mind, until the piece is made and finished when it then visually is absorbed by all who see it. Take colour, shape and form. We are surrounded and exist with these around us every day of our lives. And it’s up to the maker then to bring these together so that the viewer can have a new perception of same.

In my case, I’m just so fascinated by the idea of transforming a 2D illustration so that it can ‘exist’ in a 3D format. OK, this wasn’t the absolute basis for this show, but again by using the title and inspiration from the track by
X-ray Spex, it led me to imagine a world where we did exist surrounded by neon. So it became a challenge again of transforming my vision in a way that those around me could see it as well.

And the work in this show plays with what I’ve called ‘Geo’. This means for me that an image can dictate the shape of the board, versus letting the board dictate the image within it. In the show you see that, too, with highly polished images hanging next to pieces which exhibit a very fluid technique.

In an
interview with The Independent Newspaper you mentioned all the different avenues you like to use in terms of getting the ‘message’ about your art out there, including Facebook, vimeo, blogs and more. What are you guys doing to push the show at the ‘Sleepers Bar’?
I’ve always worked under the idea of ‘Globalisation’. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but for me it’s just the idea that I’m sitting making work locally but always showing it or reaching it out to a global stage. It’s just the idea that you can make work anywhere and the world will still see it.

For both Dylan and me, well, we’re both lucky to live between Leeds and Manchester, two very important cities that gives us access to a whole new and very vibrant demographic. We’ve posted details of the show from
Twitter to Facebook to Flickr and back again.

And when this particular show is over the work – unless sold – will be there and available to go on tour to the next venue. There is no end to what we can make and where can take it.

I’ve also seen your name associated with a group called the
Crim Collective. What is this group all about?
My history with this group goes back to me deciding to work on an MA in International Graphic Design Practice at the
University of Huddersfield.

This came from my decision that I really wanted to be able to use my experience to the fullest and still be able to put food on the table, you know, turn my work into something more marketable. I mean, pretty much since I started, I have initiated all my own projects and shows. But going for my MA really offers me the chance to adopt a much more, well if you want to call it this, mature approach to my work.

I was so very fortunate though, because during my first interview in 2009, I was offered a place with the Crim Collective. I had been aware of so much creative talent ‘running around’ in this group so I was thrilled!

Just to give you the official run-down: the Crim™ Collective (oops, got to use the 'TM', too!) was founded in 2006 by Senior Lecturer
Paul Heys. It’s a University-based group of designers and illustrators leading national and international projects. The collective has a focus on pedagogy; in particular, it seeks to develop and promote an academic- and industry-integrated experience, highlighting innovative learning techniques in an attempt to challenge the way art and design related subjects are taught.

Members are offered a series of non-assessable workshop experiences and together with noted industry-lead practitioners, including such well-known talents as:
Jeffrey Bowman, also known as Mr. Bowlegs; Illustrator Andy J. Miller; Barrie Inman, Designer and UK Retail Coordinator, Converse UK; Recent graduate and YCN award winner Luisa Biolchi; and Robert Loeber, Web, Graphic Designer, Urban Outfitters UK, Europe and founder of the contemporary indie and youth culture magazine / blog, Sticks & Stones. Combining all of this varied inputs and experiences aids all of us in terms of developing a greater understanding of individual application. Plus, it really heightens the enjoyment of our ‘collective’ practice.

So again, I was lucky to be interviewed by Paul Heys when I went in to try and get a place in the MA program at Huddersfield. I became a member right away and now act as one of the project leaders for Crim™.

Just very quickly – let’s say in 20 words or less – what were your main personal goals or targets for this show?
To initiate a self-reflective drive to explore new technique(s).

Well this might not be fair since Dylan wasn’t available, but Robert can you tell us something funny about him that you know that not many others know AND that will not get him deported, arrested, divorced, or any other naughty bits ending in ‘-ed’?
(long pause)

Hm… well, Dylan’s a demon at fighting with sticks, knives and knows inside out all that is the ‘praying mantis’ technique in Kung Fu. I kid you not.

So what’s next for you guys? Another show together or will you both be heading out on your own?
I’ve always worked on my own but would love to carry on the energy that I got from working with Dylan. We were both so inspired by each other.

Plus, I found I really enjoyed Dylan’s passion for Graphic Novels! We even spoke about basing an entire collection of work on the visual work of the film Tron. Again, I guess you could say that this mainly born from a fascination of neon.


‘The Day The World Turned Dayglo’ is a collaborative exhibition of new work from Dylan Riley and Robert Walker. It opened on the 14th of May and will close on 2nd of June at

Sleepers – located under one of Huddersfield's railway arches – is an independent and unique bar, dedicated to providing its customers with the necessities of modern living – although under closer inspection I did not notice any pictures of hot tubs in the actual bar area itself. P.S. they need to update their current shows section, too... please!


All pictures, videos and other media are used with written permission of Robert Walker, or are available in the public domain including the ones I shamelessly pilfered from Dylan Riley’s wife’s Facebook collection (noting copyright and other restrictions, accordingly). No further reproduction or duplication is permitted without contacting the artists directly. Some pictures have been modified slightly only for the purpose of space limitations.

1 comment:

lastnerve said...

Great interview! Loved the pictures, especially of the girl. Fascinating information and I enjoyed learning about Robert and Dylan! Awesome job!