As he grew older his naïve scribbles began to explore a dark, egotistical fantasy world, always relying on his imagination to fuel his compositions. This could be partly due to being surrounded by art and artists for as long as he could remember. His late father worked for over thirty years at the Royal Academy of Arts in London - so by default Bray was brought up in an environment of creativity and imagination.
“We were allowed to wander the galleries before the Royal Academy opened in the morning, so we had all this art to ourselves.” With minimal security before opening, and no cctv in those days, Bray jokes that he was able to touch and on the odd occasion lick these great works.
This warped sense of humour and tone of voice is evident through his work, using basic drawing tools, such as pens, pencils and paper, Bray creates delicate and time-consuming drawings which explore emotion, utopia and a world of fantasy through his subject matter mainly focusing on the beautiful and the unnatainable female form.
The drawings for his new body of work are heavily influenced by handpoked naive tattoos and inspired by Eric Gill, James Ensor, Eric Stanton, Bart Simpson, ancient Greece, to name but a few. There is indeed a reason for such a random selection.
“Having spent a few weeks last year getting lost in America on a trip with musician Georg Lubitzer. We encountered a character called Yossarian who gave me a list of names, subjects and even specific compositions that i should use in my work.”
David Bray is staying faithful to that list. “To stay faithful to this would open up channels to a world of magical thinking, he promised, who am I to turn down such a promise?”
For this show StolenSpace will be hosting a special series of life drawing classes with David Bray, to pass on his techniques and ways of seeing and drawing the female form.