Interview with D*Face: Sticking it to the man! Part I

Juxtapoz // Thursday, 03 Dec 2009
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Helen Soteriou:
Who is D*Face, can you tell me about your background and how the D*Face journey began?
D*Face: D*Face is a government experiment. No, D*Face is me, Dean Stockton.

‘How did D*Face start’? It started 10 years ago.

‘How did ‘it’ start’? It started when I was a kid.
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It is hard to define D*Face outside of defining who I am as a person. What my work is about is what I’m about. It started when I was a kid, bored at school again, not academic in the slightest….Mum’s frustration:  ‘What is my son going to become’? He is failing all his schooling’, but was really interested in drawing and art and skateboarding, and she bought me the book Subway Art / Spray Can Art stupidly, didn’t have any idea that I’d like it and it might be interesting and something for me to be into… and it was… but it was kinda the wrong thing for me to be into… and that kinda led me into, in a very strange way,  a couple of kids at school who were into skateboarding as well as graffiti, so I would get hand-me-down Thrasher magazine from 82 / 83, and they would get it sent over from America cause at that time it was quite hard to get it from the UK… and it was Thrasher magazine and Transworld where I opened those pages and saw those skateboarders and skate graphics.

I was gob-smacked and thought ‘what the fuck is this all about’ and I really liked the ethic of going against the grain and skateboarding WAS that sort of graffiti.
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Honestly, I was too young to be into graffiti at that time. I tried. I got pens and cans of paint out of my dads garage and tried to tag but they were shit and I was by no means going to be a big graffiti artist or bomber, but what I did do was get into skateboarding heavily and got into the graphics side of that.

Thrasher magazine always had punk bands featured and that got me into Thrash music and punk music, and those things formed me as this person and taught me to look at the city differently, like there wasn’t these skate parks around and there really isn’t that many today, but what there were, were objects that were skateable and we would skate around with my mates and look at architectural pieces that did have a skateboard use, so we used to skate at Southbank …and those things teach you to look at the city differently, and if anything, that was the biggest influencing factor to me as an artist.
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Fast forward a couple of years: I failed school. I managed to get myself onto a course studying photography, because I wanted to become a skateboard photographer. I had this blindsided idea that I could be this great photographer, but never really take any photos - just get stoned in the car park- which is what I did for 2 years, and then I had the dawn of realization that I was not a very good photographer at all and no one was going to take me in, so had the thought that actually I’m going to have to get a job.
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My mum got me a job in her bank as some sort of clerk, and I was thinking this is the last thing fucking thing I wanted to do in my life, and I looked around, I phoned around colleges and asked whether they had any places on animation / design / illustration courses and one course came-up, and I went down with my portfolio and I got a place on an animation course.

When I started that course it cemented all of my interests in that this is what I want to do; it was animation.  It was a cartoon graphic style. There was an outlet for it and there was a way where I could be tutored and taught how to create interesting graphics that inspired me, much like the skateboarding graphics I had seen when I was a child. Then I started working really hard and I connected to all the things I was interested in …and not long after I went on to get a job in the design and illustration world.

Part 2 of this interview with D*Face is HERE.
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