“You’ll never guess it….”
When I met Denzel a few weeks ago, he was rolling around the Mile End Arts Pavilion in a shopping cart with the end cut off. Said he’d give me 50p if I can guess how to pronounce his Jamaican surname. Stik, who was featured in London Art Spot a few weeks ago, and I were making our guesses quite unsuccessfully. Denzel was there showing off some painting at Stik’s exhibition, but he’s interested in everything from illustration to chalk drawings to photography.
Born in 1990, he grew up in Wembley and is now taking photography, English and psychology classes with the goal to start an art and design foundation course at Central Saint Martins. He passed his A-level art course last year with an award from his sixth form and is recently exploring pen drawings like the ones he’s shared for this week’s London Art Spot below.
Oh, and if you’re interested, his surname is pronounced “Warp”. I didn’t get my 50p.
LLO: How would you define yourself as an artist?
DW: I suppose I spend more time drawing recently so I’m more of an illustrator than anything else. It has changed over the years. There’s no point in limiting or categorising yourself. I might be an illustrator now and working on something completely different next year. Before illustration, I started designing tattoos.
LLO: Let’s talk about this self-portrait piece here…You look angry.
DW: It represents something a bit darker, some negative emotions that everyone has. You can see people’s facial expressions – angry, upset. That facial expression alone maybe represents maybe how they’re feeling, but the extent they’re feeling it. I thought I would try to take someone’s facial expression and try to make them a bit more obvious on their faces and how that can affect everyone around them, the environment around them, etc. This is obviously anger although I use a lot of red, even when I’m calm.
LLO: What’s your other artwork like?
DW: A lot of it is not with paint. I tend to use a lot of chalk and charcoal and pens. I’ve done a couple of live drawing courses. It’s always fun seeing old people naked. But chalk is a lot of fun, especially soft pastels. And you get to use your fingers. Brushes are an extension of your hands, but they’re not really you. You can just pick up a piece of chalk and use your fingers to drag it around. I think that’s really nice, how you can be directly involved in the shape. A lot of lines I use in paint are also done with fingers. I’m not really too concerned about what material it’s on. Trying out different materials gives you a better idea of how paint works. When you go back to something basic like paper, you’ll have a better understanding of how to put it down.
LLO: Do you find using your hands to be therapeutic?
DW: It is. It gets aggression out when you get to use your hands. Brushes are a bit more restrictive. But I’ve started to move away from that now. If you start to produce such hideous work and emotion that’s so strong, I think it’s time to move away from that and on to something happier and a bit more technical.
LLO: Where are you studying?
DW: Copland Science Specialist College. I devote a lot of my time to studies. It’s sixth form. It’s a science college, but there are such creative minds. All of my friends there are into music, dance, drama and art. I’m taking psychology, English and photography at the moment and plan to go to university next year. I really like photography at the moment. Now I’m looking at propaganda, World War I and II, the Vietnam War. I’m looking at Iraq and Afghanistan wars and how propaganda has been used to encourage people to fight. I’m looking at how it’s changed. There’s a massive difference in how they’ve used propaganda over the years. Now it’s more obvious because independent photographers are making their way down to show what’s really going on.
For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.