Popular culture and the significant and hugely graphical role it historically plays in music, fashion, film, photography and advertising is the element which inspires and motivates leading contemporary figurative artist, Drew Darcy most when the question of influence is put to him. More recently the illustrative stance associated most with the pop culture of the 1940s and 1950s has been at the forefront of Darcy’s mind and consequently found at the centre of his latest compositional work. Actual exponents of their artistic persuasion, such as Gil Elvgren, Helmut Newton, John Kacere and Edward Hopper are reeled off and discovered amongst those who Darcy admires most, and the artistic flavours of such having been absorbed and inwardly digested by the popular artist of today.
The female form is a favourite and recurrent subject matter preferred by Darcy, and the pursuit of picturing them in a sexually alluring contextual surround, often conveying a sense of sexual tension in the painted mix. This is having previously dedicated hours to the compiling of photographs, setting up scenes and general gathering of resources which serve as the habitual starting point for a typical Darcy piece. Intimacy is the key illustrative vibe and ambience which Darcy is keen to front and uphold, whilst concurrently aiming to capture a degree of transient movement and bespoke realism to the evocative study. With regard the photographical element, Darcy champions the use of digital cameras, which he readily believes he can manipulate sufficiently once uploaded to his computer which ultimately enables him to realise his initial concept on the screen; and therein the creative starting point for the eventual piece.
Once Darcy’s pictorial Genesis is determined on screen, he can immediately alter colours, cut and paste specific visual aspects and so forth. As a contemporary artist who’s embraced technology and its place in the creative process, Darcy hasn’t lost sight or touch with tradition. Far from it, as he routinely marries the two methodologies when piecing together his pictorial CV. Darcy admits that nothing can compare to the seeming magic which occurs once a brush is introduced to a blank canvas, concurring that neither clever digital imagery nor the raw power of computers can ever challenge the incalculable worth and prowess of the human interaction between material and elected surface area.
Born in 1976 in Shrewsbury, situated near the Welsh border in Shropshire, England, Darcy was the eldest of two boys, the son of a doctor and nurse. Darcy is of the opinion that his creative side has been handed down through his mother’s side of the family, on account of both music and art being an integral part of her childhood in Dublin as one of ten siblings. Indeed, music is another string to Darcy’s bow, and something which he tends to hold in equal importance to his art, and which he explains forms an unlikely collaborator in his compositional process. Darcy; “In the time waiting for the paint to dry, music and song writing is another creative output for me. Music has always been a huge passion of mine. My studio has a microphone and guitar at arm’s reach.” The much sought after artist goes on to add; “I find myself working at best with music, lyrics and canvas. I can easily lose myself as the hours rush by in this intense creative environment”.
Delving back even further into the Darcy family archives – and establishing valid creative links - the current generation tells of his grandfather being from a long line of tailors, and whom was Saville Row-trained; before setting up his own tailoring business (and three shops in total) back in his native Dublin. Looking at his father’s side, and examining how much creative input has materialised from this side of his immediate family, and Darcy informs us that his other grandfather was an industrial designer and skilled draughtsman himself. So there’s definitely a line of technical skills melded with artistic insight being handed down through the generations it would appear.
For Darcy’s part, he can recall drawing from an early age, and remembers his first brush with paint being whilst attending Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, where he was first introduced to oils. Darcy fondly recounts the feeling of wonderment at being able to leave his own indelible mark on his own canvas, just like the great painters had before him. Thereafter, many hours were lost in the school’s art room, where Darcy mastered many techniques which frequent his work today. Recognizing his fledgling talent, Darcy’s art teachers afforded him as much creative freedom as he desired back then, and as a result gained grade A’s in GCSE and A-Level Art and Design. On the back of this, Darcy chose to further his artistic education at Birmingham’s Bourneville Art College, where he acquired a B/TEC National Diploma in Art and Design.
In 2002 Darcy struck out as a dedicated contemporary artist, after investing the necessary time into developing and evolving his particular artistic style. After successfully exhibiting and subsequently selling his work in some carefully chosen galleries in London and the UK, Darcy teamed up with one of the UK’s leading art publishers, Washington Green, who worked in with the aspiring artist to further explore his ideas and in turn, his well-starred professional art career.