The UK based artist “D*Face”, a.k.a. Dean Stockton has been hard at work on his latest show entitled “New World Disorder” at StolenSpace Gallery in London.  The artist is well known for his graffiti and street influenced work, which often features bold graphic imagery, and one could say his work is a new permutation (and evolution) of the pop art aesthetic Roy Lichtenstein made famous.

Stockton incorporates a broad range of street influence throughout his fine art gallery work, and has exhibited worldwide to crowds of eager patrons.  The artist continues to produce work that is not only stimulating, but also technically beautiful, with a refined sensibility in his screen work and color choices.  Since his sold out show in 2006, Stockton has continued to grow and advance his career, and has been a stand out at the Scope Art Fair (during Art Basel week in Miami Beach) over the past two years.

There is no doubt in the artistry that drives D*Face, as he continually produces work that continues to build a worldwide collector base, while influencing a new generation of artists with his prominent work.  We caught up with Stockton recently and asked him a few questions about his new show, his process, and the future.

Warholian:  In New World Disorder elements of the show have been inspired by U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman and his death in Afganistan.  How did this story affect you personally?

D*Face: It was through researching the notion of ‘a pack’ mentality that I started to look into ‘ball’ sports, I became really fascinated of how strongly supportive of a team, men in particular, become – there’s something incredibly primal about it – and being the kid who was always picked last to be on any team at school, I have always seeked ‘alternative’ activities.  The chanting, fighting team mentality always puzzled me. I like the notion of supporting a team, wearing the team colours, but never felt comfortable with it.  It drew me to make the analogy of the ultimate team being fighting for one’s country, and those colours being the flag under which you fight – further, the technical and tactical approach to a team, versus the tactical approach of a military operation. It was while explaining this to a friend that he mentioned I should watch the Tilman Story, as it was exactly what I was talking about. I watched that film and was deeply moved by the sacrifice he gave, while giving up a million dollar NFL deal to fight for his country.  Both my father and grandfather fought in WW1 and WW2 and I’ve always been deeply thankful of the sacrifice people have given in the name of our county – but equally deeply synical about how necessary it is, and for who, and at what gain?  Particularly when history should have taught us such important lessons.

Warholian:  Can you take us through your artist process in a nutshell, from conception of a design to overall production of a work?  What art medium is currently inspiring you the most?

D*Face:  Everything comes from that instant ‘idea’ be that when I’m cycling to my studio or lying in bed.  I find the state between being awake and asleep (or hypnagogia) is when some of my best ideas have come, so I normally sleep with a pencil and paper or my phone next to my bed.  My phone has a list of ideas in it, and when certain ideas rise to the surface  I work it up as a sketch.  These can be fairly basic, mainly for composition purposes, or much more worked.  There’s more often than not an element of computer work, wither composing something using reference material, or redrawing it as a vector file.  If the final piece is to be sculptural, then I may work out the rotations of the piece  so I have a good idea of what I’m aiming for.  If it’s a painting then I’ll work from the digital collage or vector file. Most of my work includes a greater or lesser element of screen printing, which is all done in-studio.  I’ll expose screens, print that element, and work over until I’ve got the desired final effect and finished piece.

Recently I’ve been really inspired by these painted and printed collages I’ve made, where I paint and print a selection of pieces. I then dissect and cut up the individual elements and recompose them, setting each element onto a different layer and level.  I’ve enjoyed producing the work and then cutting it up, essentially destroying it, only for it to have a new life in a new composition. Equally I’ve been painting final pieces on wood, really working them meticulously – only to mask an element off at the end and sand it back.  It allows chance and the unknown to come into my work, which i’ve really been searching for in the past.

Warholian:  We hear that you are releasing a retrospective book, this is very exciting news!  Can you tell us what it’s been like to try and put a lifetime of work into one book?  Have you learned anything throughout the process?

D*Face:  My book “One Man and His Dog” is currently being published by Lawrence King, and is set to be released this September.  It features 380 pages spanning 15 years of work.  It’ been really challenging to put together, but  I went about it the only way I felt I could. I brought a friend into my studio to poured through old photos,  images, and then put them into chapters – which is roughly chronological by show.  It took masses of time to just shuffle it all together, to sieve out the work, deciding what would make the cut or not, before layout of the book out could even begin. After I felt I had it roughly in shape, I talked to publishers to get their opinion, and whether my project was of any interest. Lawrence King had expressed interest in my work years ago and I felt instantly at home.  I am happy to publish the book with them.  The whole project  has taken well over a year to piece together and lay out.  One important lesson I’ve learned is to make sure to photograph EVERYTHING, and back up EVERYTHING.  I’ve lost a lot of images in the wallows of time and to the digital ether. The process overall has allowed me to look back and decide what work is the most effective, and moreover what I enjoyed.  There are lots of good memories.

Warholian:  What’s next for D*Face?

D*Face:  My primary focus has been to get New World Disorder set up and opened.  I’m looking forward to kicking the doors open and having a beer (or few)!  Then I have to relocate my studio.  First I need to find a studio, which is posing a massive problem at the moment.  I’m also painting a large mural here in London.  Then we have the set up and launch the newly relocated StolenSpace Gallery, which is really exciting. I’m heading to Malaga Museum to paint a mural in July, another mural in Newcastle, and potentially Munich (amongst other places).  This all leads me up to the book launch in September, which will lead to a few book signings across the world.  The first of which will be here in London at the new StolenSpace Gallery… for an invite to that, or New World Disorder please email info@stolenspace.com.

– Interview by Michael Cuffe with photos by Ian Cox for Warholian

For more on New World Disorder visit:  http://www.stolenspace.com 

To see more work from D*Face visit:  http://www.dface.co.uk

Check out the show trailer for New World Disorder below:

D*FACE ‘NEW WORLD DISORDER’ from arlen figgis on Vimeo.