An interview with one of my favourite artists Fin DAC (DAC stands for Dragon Armoury Creative) aka Finbarr Notte.
Current location: Dublin
Current happiness levels out of 10: 8
Favourite film: Bladerunner
Favourite musician: Imogen Heap
Favourite artist: Aubrey Beardsley
Favourite book: The Beach – Alex Garland
Favourite colour: Grey
Brief synopsis: Non-conformist urban artist. Creator of Urban Aesthetics
You’re a self taught artist – have you found there is a snobbery between the art school educated and those that have just gone out and done it?
I guess there is… I don’t take much notice. Negative viewpoints don’t affect me or what I do in any way.
You say your work is a modern-day take on the 19th century art movement – can you explain that in more depth?
The Aesthetics were a group of artisans from the turn of the 19th century. Their ethos was that art, and creativity in general, should not be about social or political statements but only to do with beauty. When I was looking for something, to differentiate my work from other urban art, this struck a chord so I came up with the term Urban Aesthetics… a perfect mix of the two.
Who are the women in the pictures?
They are real girls, girls who I have found or who have found me. They come from different countries and places but each of them has played a part in my artistic journey.
I never tell that… It’s the only mystery in my work so why spoil it by revealing the nature of it. I also like to leave it up to the viewer to decide themselves what it’s about.
Many of your paintings seem to be asian influenced? Why is that…
Mainly because I have been into Asian art all my life: from manuscripts through to modern-day Manga and Anime. But also because I think the Asian woman, as a general rule in the west, is misrepresented as weak and submissive. I wasn’t trying to address that balance but it felt like good subject matter.
You’ve gone on to paint at the Royal Albert Hall.. of all the amazing places… how was that?
Surreal is the word to describe that particular job. Not just because we were painting at a venue where this type of art would be least expected but also because the 9 artists slept there overnight for 3 nights in a row… Wandering the empty halls at night was weird and spooky at the same time
Do you find you have a varied audience for your work?
I would assume so? I don’t know if my corporate audience is varied but I know I’m capable as an artist to paint in different ways… so can adapt to suit a clients requirement if there is a need to do so.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I came into art from a pretty dark place so, not wishing to return there, is pretty much the only inspiration I will ever need.
Have you experienced a creative block/or black hole?
Not once. On the odd occasion I might get bored with a particular piece that I’m painting but that passes in the space of a few hours.
If so what do you do to get out of it? Tips?
Start a different piece of work, focus my mind elsewhere… I don’t find this difficult at all. Not that I watch TV, but I suspect it’s about as difficult as changing the channel if the channel you’re watching is showing crap.
What do you think you would do if you weren’t an artist?
Hard to say… when I look back at my office life I often wonder how I was able to do it for so long as it seems so soul-destroying to me now. I wouldn’t want to return there for love nor money.
If you are self taught how did you teach yourself about the different paints/how to stencil etc.
I practiced, I made mistakes and I never stopped believing that I could get better. Still to this day I think I can get better… and I’m sure I can and will.
I’ve seen several posts about your work being imitated by several high profile brands. That must have been really annoying. Can you go into that in more detail? Did you manage to get any justice with any of that?
It is infuriating simply because it’s so hard to get any justice. Any claim can and will cost a fortune and you really have no idea if it’s going to work in your favour or not. Big companies and small have copied my work but I think you just have to get on with what you’re doing and hope things will work themselves out. I don’t think many artists have the finances to get legal on anyone.
Your favourite current artists?
What is the most important thing in life?
Art… of course
What is the most beautiful thing about art for you?
That I can lose myself completely in it and escape from reality
Do you feel like you’re now on the right path?
Absolutely. I think I felt it from the moment I started painting but was too afraid to admit it even to myself for the fear it might be snatched away from me.
The next big election is coming up in England – do you have any hopes or thoughts on this? Artists can be influential… no?
I have never voted and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Politicians and the political system as a whole are corrupt: set up to feed the rich and starve the poor… literally and metaphorically. The sooner the general population wakes up to the daylight robbery that is happening under their noses the better… we need a sea change.
Favourite quote to leave us on:
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time” Thomas Merton
Link to Fin DAC’s work HERE