I am a massive fan of street art. In fact, alongside artworks about myths and legends, it is probably one of my favourite genres. It’s versatile and edgy, and an ever-changing landscape within the art world. It brings art to the masses who see art as something that is stuck in galleries, and above all else it brings colour to urban areas which could essentially be all concrete.
D*Face (Dean Stockton), was born in 1978 in England, and until 2008 his identity as a street artist was kept under wraps, as he didn’t feel that his audience needed to know his identity to appreciate his work. You can see some of the early D*Face work around Shoreditch in London, notably the car wrecked car with his winged bomb crushing it, up on top of some shipping containers.
D*Face is a prolific member of the street art community, with pieces dotted around all over the place. He has been producing pieces over the last 15 years and is one that I watch out for avidly. His style is comic, pop art, mixed with a bit of lowbrow and a sardonic humour.
While living and working in London, D*Face does feel that Los Angeles is his home from home, simply because of how they embrace the street art community, allowing artists to paint murals on bill boards and buildings in a way in which the UK haven’t quite fully adopted as yet.
It’s hard to become a well-known street artist. It is a fiercely competitive arena where the struggle for walls to paint and keep hold of is one of the issues. Only the well-known get their works commissioned and preserved. Many start in the same way now, making stickers of motifs, and applying them to sign posts, exchanges and pretty much anywhere they will be seen. Stickers then evolved to posters and so on until the artist becomes recognised. This is the route that D*Face took.
D*Face didn’t start out as a street artist. For a time, he worked in advertising, and the allure of watching how the media could put placements for campaigns everywhere and anywhere is one of the driving factors to D*Face’s approach.
D*face has a few motifs, the winged bomb for example.
You can see the wings in many pieces of D*Face’s work, such as “Going Nowhere Fast”, where the blonde bombshell has the wings at her temple (yes, I know I called her a bombshell!). The art itself has themes of love, relationships and loss.
For me, D*Face’s art, such as this piece, homages Roy Lichtenstein’s work, but gives a social commentary on what is around him. The stylised pair look as if they are travelling at speed yet stuck for an eternity in this motionless pose. He is zombiesque, while she retains her Femme Fatale composure. The decaying male could be a relationship turning sour or the remembrance of a past relationship. The beauty of this work is that each can find their own meaning to what has been painted.
You can easily find the influence of his advertising days within his work as well, leaning on the consumerist lifestyle that so many of us lead today. This could be that the artist was brought up in a less than affluent household, so the throw away culture was something he was not familiar with growing up.
The defaced bank note, and credit card were part of the “Stolen Space” exhibition from 2008. This mocking of the currency which is used to by the things we don’t need, that we can’t take with us when we are dead was part of the “Death & Glory” range within this exhibit.
D*Face’s popularity is probably attributed to his ability to keep his work fresh and designs different enough not to become samey. He has several styles which he applies, appealing to different audiences around the world. He works in painting, printing, sculpture and murals as well has having books published of his art works.
His colour work is simple and vibrant, drawing your eye to his designs, sometimes using iconic people which he elaborates into this own style, and communicate the lunacy of life in general.
There is often an element of decay or death in the designs, bringing to mind our own mortality, but this is in no way morbid. To me, D*Face’s work seems to be saying have fun while you can, life isn’t that serious, so sit back and enjoy the ride.