The man behind ‘Urban Impressionism’ Dan Kitchener
From London to the world, Dan Kitchener is known for his unique style of street art. Having to use spray paint as a brush and walls as a canvas helped him create beautiful pieces that made his style noticeable internationally.
We at Kingdome had the pleasure to get to know the man behind ‘Urban Impressionism”
1. When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in street art/graffiti?
I have been doing art literally all my life, it’s kind of all I have ever done, and wanted to do. I’ve always been drawing since I was a baby, and this has never stopped. My interest started years ago, when I was in my early teens, I had seen graffiti on TV, New York subway graffiti and had absorbed as much of it as I could in local libraries ( no internet then! ) I wanted to try it out myself and took some car sprays and began painting crude tags and characters for a while. It never really stuck with me because I couldn’t create what I wanted with that mediums I had, so I left it behind but always kept it in the back of my mind to go back to. It was maybe 10 years ago, when I decided to try it again, and began to read and see all the street art and mainly graffiti on the internet. I was really inspired to go out and so it really started from here. When I got hold of Montana Gold and MTN94 paints I exploded creatively. The cans have amazing colors and pressure control, so I could paint exactly how I usually do on canvas and paper.
2. Which artist/s influenced you?
I have been influenced by so many artists over the years. One thing I have always done is look at as much art as I can from old master to doer abstract artists, minimal art, impressionists, surrealist, to illustrators and concept art. I absorb as much as I can and love it all, so there’s no real specific artist that has influenced me. Basically, it’s a melting pot of all the amazing creativity out there. I still love it, seeing new artists emerge, or discovering old artists I haven’t seen. I regularly go to galleries and love seeing all the fresh work, it’s definitely all part of what I do on the streets, it’s good for me to stay interested, evicted and diverse!
3. What style is your work?
I have a style of painting which has developed on walls over the last 5 years that’s like impressionistic painting, but with modern tools being the spray paint. I call it ‘Urban impressionism’ it’s a loose and painterly way to use spray paint, something that I feel very comfortable with and it feels natural to me. My main area of painting is landscapes, and i call this work my ‘Liquid Lights’ series, literally painting with light and seeing colors and lights as a liquid. This concept fascinates me and I love exploring the varied landscapes that i am lucky to have traveled to around the world.
4. Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your artwork?
Japanese culture has influenced me greatly, being brought up on monster films, manga, sci fi, and black and white subtitled samurai films, it’s definitely been a major influence in my work.
5. What is the source of your inspiration these days?
Travel is my main influence. I love to trail around the world and have been so lucky to have been to many incredible places, form the amazon rainforest, high on the Andes Mountains in Peru, deep underground remote caves in jungles of Vietnam, Angkor Watt in Cambodia, also to many cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, NYC, Cairo, Luxor, Nairobi, Mombassa and many others. All the vibrancy of the cities I love and have visited inspire me. Having to capturing the city at night and then painting that city in another country makes it seem kind of like cross pollination through art.
6. What do your pieces usually focus on?
Light, and atmosphere within a city landscape, usually at night and usually in the rain.
7. What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?
Trekked 16km into remote jungles, then descended over 80m into a newly discovered cave system in Vietnam, and then trekking 6km in the caves and sleeping 4 nights there! Pretty dangerous really, but amazing! 400 million year old caves, that more than 800 people had veer been in.
8. Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?
No never,I am a perfectionist and I always walk away thinking I can add something, but experience has told me to walk away and not overwork. days after the piece is done, it usually grows on me and then I would be completely satisfied. Usually it is impossible for me to be stratified with my piece when I am at the wall. I always feel that I can refine area, but usually it’s not needed.
9. Do you listen to music while working? Or you need a quite environment?
Music, all the time. I paint large areas quickly and love the energy that is in the work. I hate static and lifeless work, I want it to reflect me, so I literally run around around a wall, its a major physical thing, and take s a lot of energy and fitness so music helps with the flow. Dance music usually.
10. Where is your work usually located?
Everywhere, all over the world. I have 17 murals in London currently, and various all over the UK, and lots overseas. I just completed a huge mural in Canada, and one in Cyprus earlier in the year as well as a huge one in Stockholm and Hong Kong in January and Southern Spain in April……it goes on!
11. Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?
No, I love it! Each location always has challenges from access to the space and being able to stand back and see what I am doing, busy streets can be a problem, but its all part of it…good fun!
12. Have you ever had any problems with authority cause of your work?
No, I only paint legal spots
13. Do you have a formal art education?
YEs, gcxe art, a level art, btec diploma in art, degree in conceptual illustration and fine art – and I am always learning now!
14. If YES! Do you feel that you benefitted from it?
Of course, its all shaped who I am now.
15. Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer collaborate with others?
I prefer painting alone. My work is a complete entity, and I see the image as a whole, a concept or mood, I don’t see areas that someone else can fill, I consider the piece as a whole. So its hard to work with others.
16. Have you ever collaborated with other artists?
17. What do you see as the future of street art / graffiti?
I am not sure, it seems to be moving into huge scale murals, a sort of sub culture from street art of nomadic artists travelling worldwide and painting huge scale murals, its moving away form the small scale street pieces, which can overload the streets with visual noise. Nothing seems to stand out anymore, its all about big walls, and scale, in order to be heard.
18. How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?
It’s all good, they are doing something creative that they love, so its all great!
It was a pleasure having Dan Kitchener as a part of Kingdome.