British artist and illustrator Dave The Chimp has been a designer at a skateboard company, an artist in residence at a London advertising agency and his work has appeared in books alongside more well known artists such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Dalek and The London Police. Now he’s got a solo show in Berlin…
Dave’s first solo show in his adopted hometown of Berlin, entitled Prints for the New Power Generation, is currently running at the ATM Gallery in Mitte until 23 May. As the name suggests, the artwork shown takes the form of prints – screen, lino and stencil – here are a selection of images taken at the show:
We caught up with Dave just after he put the show up:
CR: Dave The Chimp – where does the name come from?
DtC: From life, from living life, that’s where it comes from. If I was to try and think of a cool graffiti name I wouldn’t have gone for one that’s so stupid, and so long! It’s probably one of the reasons why I almost never write my name in the street. I’m sure if my name was D-FILE or POW or something similarly short I’d be a notorious tagger! But I ended up being called “Dave the Chimp” so I had to find a different route.
CR: Where do you hail from originally?
DtC: I was born in Watford, UK.
CR: Why the move to Berlin?
DtC: All my friends in London are from different countries, so I thought I should try it out, this living in another place from where you were born and raised thing! I spent six weeks here in Berlin in the Summer of 2007 to take part in the last Back Jumps exhibition, and I enjoyed it. The sun shines from April until October. There are lots of places to live, so rent is cheap. There’s plenty going on. It’s a big place, lots of space. Safe for cycling. I don’t have to have a day job to pay the rent. German girls are hot and strong. People from all over live here. Children here seem to stay as children for a long time – and there’s lots of amazing adventure playgrounds for them. I don’t know, I try to do things because I want to do them, rather than making a list of pros and cons. I still love London, but I kind of had enough of the aggression, the obsession people have with bullshit like their jobs and fashion and popular culture – it’s all so meaningless – but people living in London are too busy to ever take a step back and see that. So I moved here for the time being. We’ll see what happens…
CR: Is this your first solo show – or have you had others in different cities?
DtC: I’ve had solo shows in Milan, Luxembourg, and Hamburg, and have one in Munich opening on 23rd May at Galerie Stephan Stumpf called All Great Men Are Dead, And I’m Not Feeling Well. It’s to celebrate the launch of my first book with Publikat. It’s kind of my first show in a ‘proper’ gallery. That’s not to say the other galleries were not proper galleries, it’s just this is the first time I will show in a space that isn’t run by a graffiti artist, and that shows art that doesn’t come from the streets. So it feels a little scary. But maybe it means we’ll sell something for a change 😉 HA!
CR: What else are you up to (besides the exhibition)?
DtC: Well, like I said, there’s the show in Munich, and my book being launched. Then early June I have a little show/T-shirt launch at Woolwill in Hamburg, and we’re also making some collaborations with the hip hop fashion label Super Horst Jansen there. I’m releasing a super limited plush toy of my popular ‘worm/ghost’ character, made by the nice folk at ETextileS. I have a limited edition zine coming out with Imagora in France sometime soon. In July I plan a trip to London to see all my friends with kids, and ride some decent concrete skateparks (I moved to Berlin just before they rebuilt Stockwell, and Mile End has a park now too!) and I want to take August off and have a summer for once – I’ve worked all through every summer since 2001 – I need sun! That said, I may use that time to start on the script for a short film I want to make with my brother… But hey, that’s what the table I built on the balcony is for! September I go to Sweden to paint with Ekta and start preparing for our show at the Don Gallery in Milan (opens 12th November). Oh, and I’m also putting a book together for publisher Laurence King, but that won’t be out til 2010!
Dave The Chimp: Prints For The New Power Generation runs until 23 May at