Interview with D*Face: Sticking it to the man! Part IIIJuxtapoz // Saturday, 05 Dec 2009
Helen Soteriou: What is the meaning behind the D*Face £10 notes?
D*Face: I don’t like authority. I don’t like what the Queen represents. I don’t think she represents good value for money and I think nobody is in a greater position to be taken the piss out of.
Do you have a favourite piece out of the whole body of work you have created?
No, not really.
I’m far too analytical of my work, so when I do something I pull it apart in my head and ask how I could do it better next time, and I generally don’t sit back and say ‘good work, well done on that’, pat on the back, I don’t do that.
Individual pieces…the skateboard pool I have just painted out in San Bernadeno in L.A. was really special a) because obviously it was a swimming pool you could skate in and b) it was skated by a guy called Steve Alba who was a legionary skater when I was a kid and he still is now, that’s like 30 years of skating, he still jumps fences now to skate empty pools in people yards, you know he's 46 and still doing what is true to him, that’s inspirational.
How do you skate in a swimming pool?
You drain the pool of water and then by its very design (back in the 60s they were very curved not square like our pools) you roll into the shallow end and then into the deep end.
This one pool, called the ridiculous pool was like the perfect skate pool, and when the property was put up for sale Peter King bought the house just for the swimming pool and turned it into a skate pad. Through a mutual friend I was asked to go and paint it, and I dreamed of going to California as a kid and skating in pools, so I spent 4 days painting the pool and then Steve Alba came down and we had a big skate party and everyone skated it.
It was probably the first time that a pool has been used as an art installation piece.… and destroyed but actually made better in the process. That was really special. Then on the evening of that big skate, I thought I had fulfilled a big childhood dream of mine, that was pretty cool, but then all I could think about was I could have done this and I could have done that.
Do you ever switch off?
Nah, you have to ask my assistant about that …but you know it is relentless.
Do you meet your buyers?
I have met a couple of people who avidly collect my work.
Is it strange?
I generally don’t try to think of it like that. When they start talking about work I try and change the subject. I don’t really say ‘I’m really pleased you got that piece’. It is kinda weird.
I meet people who have tattoos of my work. I don’t have any tattoos at all and I certainly wouldn’t have any tattoos of my work on me, so when I see people who have tattoos of my work on them it is a little bit strange, but I dig it, I like it, I think it's rad.
I have a friend, or who has become a friend, who contacted me because he has a tattoo… called Uri out in New York. I met-up with him and it was on a whim. I emailed this guy back, and I generally avoid emailing people because I don’t have the time, but I emailed this guy back, and I didn’t know he was from New York, and I said we were off to New York, and he said he was from Manhattan and asked if I wanted to meet-up …and you know what, I was like, fuck it, lets meet-up with this guy. Thought he was going to be like proper strange and everyone was like ‘he is gonna be a stalker, ha ha you have to be careful’ and he turned out to be this super safe guy, and really looked after us in New York, and that has taught me a lesson to spend more time with the people who get in contact, who are interested in my work.
How do you feel about the adoration?
Adoration... I don't see it as that. I'm surprised and flattered by anybody that digs my work it’s really nice. I think it is really cool. I have been into skateboarding all my life, if there was the internet, I could have emailed Mark Gonzales or Steve Alba, or Lance Mountain, these were big skaters in my day, if I could have emailed them; and said I love your stuff and got a reply then …. the internet has changed the way people live.
What are you up to right now?
We just got back from L.A. I went over there to produce a print. I also went and painted as many walls and then went and painted the pool in San Bernardino… it was non-stop, all day we were painting but that’s what I enjoy the most it was amazing, if for the weather and nothing else - L.A. is like a summer there all the time.
Is it easier in terms of legality?
Depending on where you are, they are kinda open to it. A couple of the spots we had been granted permission for and a couple of the spots we took as we were there.
We painted this one wall for three days. Nobody even questioned whether we should or should not be there, but while you are there you are like ‘actually that wall over there, we could definitely paint that wall. We’ve got this cherry picker, let’s just ride over there and paint that wall’, so you ride over and paint that wall and cause you have just spent three days painting that wall and people in the local neighbourhood get to know you, they don’t even question the fact that you have gone over and painted another wall. So you take advantage, you do one thing and do another thing illegally.