After much intrigue and anticipation, Hang-Up is delighted to launch Dave White's new collection. Extinct is the culmination of a body of oil paintings created in secrecy for over 18 months.
It was almost ten years ago when White first drew a study for this series in a sketchbook. However, it was one image amongst many and another path was awaiting in the endangered animal collections. Whilst the seed was sown then, the journey of creating the animal series honed the artist's draftsmanship and paintings with the execution of a new form of expressive realism. Ten years later, White has become synonymous with that series, which has featured in exhibitions and press globally and is highly coveted by collectors. Extinct is however, something else entirely. The subjects have never been seen by the human eye, the viewer is at the mercy of the artist’s interpretation. We had the pleasure of discussing the new collection with White himself. Read below to learn more.
HU: Extinct has been underwraps for 18 months and we are so privileged to showcase the collection. You decided from the beginning to keep all details of the project under wraps. What led to this decision?
DW: The world moves so fast these days and although social media is a great tool we all use, by the time something is posted it’s already old and yesterdays news by the time a show comes around. After posting something a year ago it’s kind of pointless. I wanted these to just come out of nowhere and be a massive surprise.
HU: Depicting these historic creatures must have been a completely unique challenge compared to your Endangered Animals series. Was research a large part of the process of creating this series?
DW: I have spent my whole life looking and obsessing over these incredible creatures and research was indeed the first port of call. Lots of reading, a lot of drawing and studying not only dinosaurs but lizards and focussing on things like camouflage and texture. I have explored many sources in my research. Usually I spend endless hours at zoos and wildlife parks observing my subjects behave at will. With these I have done the same but immersed myself looking at skeletons, anatomical drawings, and sculptures around the world.
HU: What do you want viewers to take away from this collection and is there a point in your creative process where you feel you’ve achieved that?
DW: I guess with everything I do there is a motive and something I want to say and the viewer to take away from observing my work. Getting them to look alive and animated. A complete connection to everything I've done before, and to reignite the spark that we had as kids and we saw these for the first time. You grow up and kind of forget they existed, but then you reconnect and can't believe how incredible Dinosaurs are. The realisation that many of the creatures I’ve painted before are headed for the same fate as these unless change occurs is what I want people to take from this series.
HU: What has been the biggest surprise with this collection?
DW: There have been a few moments in my career where my decision to focus on specific subjects has raised eyebrows, the sneakers in 2002, Animals in 2010 but they are classed as pivotal moments in my career and what I am best known for now which I find interesting. I have always painted things I am obsessed with and always gone with my heart regardless of convention. The biggest surprise is people seem love them as much as I do.
HU: Do you have a favourite piece from the Extinct collection?
DW: I have a very intense and intimate relationship with my work however once a piece is completed, I prepare for the next one and I don’t tend to look at them again. I have always had a viewpoint that I’m only as good as my last work and always try and better the previous piece. If I had to pick, I feel the movement T Rex conte drawing has something I’m going to be pursuing and was the final piece I made for this capsule collection.
HU: You have spoken about how you like to work in solitude and you don’t seek inspiration from other artists but do you have an ultimate artist collaboration you’d like to do?
DW: I respect many artists and everyone is on their unique path but I think someone that is the polar opposite of my work, its processes and appearance would be interesting. Some of the super flat masters would be interesting Takashi Murakami would be top of my list.
HU: You have been drawing and creating from a young age. What’s the first piece you made that you considered to be art?
DW: I would endlessly draw as child and can distinctively remember drawing a series of planes dogfighting, think I was around 9.
HU: Had you not become an artist what path do you think you would have followed?
DW: I would have pursued being a Navy Pilot.
HU: You are an avid collector of iconic memorabilia. Do you collect artwork as well and if so which artists do you have in your private collection?
DW: The art work I have at home is very eclectic as are the things I collect. I guess a lot of the things I surround myself with refer to my childhood. My favourite piece of Artwork is International by Paco Pommet. I see it every morning before I go to bed and every time I go downstairs in the morning. It never ceases to make me smile.
HU: Do you play music in the studio while you work? If so, what’s your go to album, playlist or podcast?
DW: I never paint in silence and music is just as important as the materials I use in my work. I have always listened and painted to jungle and drum and bass there is something about the repetitive, amen break drums that make me switch off completely and get totally immersed, almost in a meditative state when I work. I listen to an amazing liquid drum and bass show by Chicorelli on mix cloud.
A big thank you Dave for answering all our questions. Extinct is now open at Hang-Up Gallery, you can visit the show virtually through our dedicated viewing room below. Don't hesitate to get in touch to request a catalogue or arrange a viewing.