David Ball is an incredibly talented artist, and one whose work is entirely distinguishable from others with his unique style. We featured his work a bit back, and I’ve been begging for an interview ever since. David has a great perspective on things, hopefully you enjoy what he has to say.
1) So, you’re pretty much a mixed media master. Though your work is primarily collage, there are so many more components added in by hand its hard to distinguish between printed detail and hand done line work. How did you figure out this was the medium for you? It seems a pretty bold choice.
It evolved pretty naturally. I started out in school with inks and colored pencil and painting. Time passed and I began playing around with collage. Once I realized that I liked the results, I started out by using it for illustration, initially for Dave Eggers’ Might magazine. I did not have a computer yet at the time so I would make my work by piecing scaled, copied elements together and then making a color copy of it which I would rework with marker and ballpoint. This was quite expensive so when I got a computer, I switched to digital collage for illustration. While it had some benefits, I missed the limitations of physical mediums. This set me off into trying to create collage works for my fine art as well. As I was already used to modifying my works, and displeased with the disconnected quality of the various parts, I took too determining how I could adapt them with glazes of pigmented medium and colored pencil. This eventually brought me back to painting and drawing as well. Finally, I determined how to make the work ideally archival and that brings us to the present.
2) Your work is incredibly emotional. That is always the first thing that strikes me, specifically, about your work – when you first view a piece, there is a punch of emotion straight away, whether it be sadness or curiosity or rage. Maybe its just me being overly sensitive, but how important is it for you to have the right “mood” for your work?
I am not sure when the emotion comes in but, as an emotional person, it is always there. I can say that sometimes, the first strikes of paint to the surface set the emotion. Other times it does not come through until the end. The mood is fairly important to me if the piece has a more narrative intent as I want to set the tone for how the work is considered.
3) How do you begin a piece? Is it concept first or pure instinct? Is you process fairly organic or rigid? I really feel like your work could go either way – either with tight thumbnails that are rigidly followed or a haphazard flurry of line work that is a general gist of a composition until if “feels right”.
I start almost all pieces abstractly (think Chinese calligraphy, Clifford Still, Franz Kline). I’d say the former for illustration and the latter for fine art. Generally, I have only color and composition in mind.
My work evolves organically but I can be pretty rigid at well. It mainly depends on where I am in the process. I try to mix it up and question my rules though and eventually, introduce some kind of change.
4) Where are you hoping to see your work go in the next 10 years? In a perfect world, would you lead your art somewhere or would it lead you?
Someplace new and fresh that keeps me excited about being in the studio. In a perfect world, I and my work would take turns leading one another.
5) Your top 5 you-must-see-these artists:
I am going to just say the first five as I could never have a proper “top 5”. I like too much stuff. Stuart Davis, Anselm Keifer, Georg Grosz, Gino Severini, Amedio Modigliani.