Updated: Apr 20, 2020
The term “punk rock” might be one that’s a bit diluted, and I’m sure that today’s feature would agree with me on that, but Dave Glass is one of the last true punk artists I’ve seen. Glass creates colorful, bold, and wild work that pumps out an, “I don’t give a fuck,” attitude. His bad-ass punk ladies and gnarly looking monsters are pushed into your face atop a collection of other medias, images, and text. The characters stand out with their interesting perspectives, deep details, and sometimes really poppy colors. They’re pushed by an atmosphere of information, so much so that it often takes a couple laps around the surface for our minds to really collect all that’s going on. That’s one of the things that’s so cool about Glass’s work, at a glance it’s a rad looking punk lady or other-worldly character, but when you take a deep look at the image there’s so much more to offer and even if what you get is pure anarchy, you’ve still fallen to the allure of the image. Clean and loose in all the right places, Dave Glass’s illustrations will lock you in and leave you wanting more.
I was fortunate enough to get to chat with Glass about his work and he gave some really interesting answers. He gives us a really deep dive into how his work is made and what it stands to represent. On top of that we also talk a little bit about the DAWN 1111 collective, a group that he’s started with another artist (who we’ll definitely be hearing more about/from in the future) to get their work out there and collaborate in the truest way we know, by just doing it. I really appreciate the perspectives that Glass gave in this interview, and agree or disagree I think it’ll get you thinking. Enjoy!
1. So to begin, I always ask about background. So what got you started in art? Big inspirations? What helped shape you into the artist that you are today?
I’ve been scribbling on things since I was a wee tot. My inner child never went into hibernation like many adults. As a young boy I was intrigued by puffy monster stickers, bazooka joe, burning wax candles dripping wax all over, Star Wars, Hot Wheels, Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, cats eye marbles, Saturday morning cartoons (when it was a thing), building model war planes and hot rods while huffing testor’s glue, setting things on fire, building forts, spray painting, all sorts of things. In model building I would manipulate cotton balls into painted streams of smoke and fire with little planes glued to wire to look as if they were exploding in the air. I had a few art classes early on. I can remember drawing UFO’s and space pirate warships and such. Later on, middle/high school years, skateboarding and punk rock, underground films, VHS and tape trading, B-movies, horror comics, record covers, flyer art, pushed me into the art direction I continue today. Skateboard graphics were especially inspiring Santa Cruz, Zorlac, Skull Skates, along with Thrasher Magazine and Sessions mail-order etc. Getting into playing drums, new friends and I started our first punk/skate rock/hardcore/ whatever you wanna label it, band in high school. This led me into creating art for bands for many years after. D.I.Y. consumed me. The world around me, my home life, crumbled at a young age and art and music became my escape. Bands and friends became family.
2. You've got incredibly bold linework highlighted by a nice combination of sketchy lines and controlled detail lines, what developed this bold lined illustration style for you? Also, I noticed this on Instagram, but are you using primarily dip pens in your work? What benefit or feel developed this preference?
Thanx! I used to create a great deal of rock posters, T-shirt designs, album covers etc, and inked everything by hand, strictly with a brush, resulting in the thick bold lines. It resolved many issues in burning line work on silk-screens and also prepress printing, when art size was reduced for CD covers etc. I worked to attack most lines in one stroke with the brush. At times I would go over lines a few times with cheaper less opaque inks. I now primarily use nib(dip) pens and more recently quills in my black and white work. I’ve tried rapidograph, prisma pens, you name it but prefer the old school tradition of dipping a pen in the ink. You are able to utilize the ink flowing from the tip like blood dripping off a fingernail. You can pull it sideways or back changing the thickness and shape of the line with little or no pressure. If you take care of your nibs, and don’t stab them in the walls like angry darts they can last you a very long while. Plus you can store the ink in all kindsa kooky containers.
3. On top of solid linework, you've got striking color that can work as a nice accent or a wild, dominant factor to your work. So how do you decide what pieces you can go a little more wild with colors? When do you know you need to restrain it? Are colors laid out right away or do you figure it out as you go?
At one point the colors may have introduced themselves with a crack of my spinal cord releasing a former trip or something? It may only depend on what mood I’m in. I may tend to use subtle tones, black and white under a more cathartic energy. Bold bright colors come into play in more frantic, exuberant, frustrated, naughty, or I really wanna break something moods. I may create a color palate before I begin painting, but that may get tossed out the window or the original piece completely painted over. I have happy accidents at times spilling or flicking a color on the substrate, like jabbing a vein and spraying blood on the wall, or a coffee or wine spill stain. I try not to restrain anything but it happens and generally I’ll walk away from the piece for a bit. I hate most of my work, art is frustrating ha ha.
4. A large portion of your body of work features the bold elements I mentioned in the previous questions depicting bad-ass punk ladies, what got you started on this path in your work? Is there a narrative significance? How has it developed visually?
Women of subculture has been one of my favorite subjects to immortalize for a long while. It is the imagery I can create that people may actually recognize as mine. Women can fill you with love, or rip your heart to shreds and I feel that is very powerful. I’ve been a part of the ‘punk’ scene, (that word doesn’t hold much weight these days) for over 3 decades, great now I’m dating myself, needless to say I have been inspired. These women were not represented, much to my knowledge, earlier on in illustrations, aside from biker tattoo magazines at the time, fetish mags, later Love and Rockets, Tank Girl, Underground, those type of comic books. Completely different world today where bright colored hair, tattoos and everything that was once taboo is part of the norm and acceptable. I can’t stand that. Nothing’s sacred. You had to be very brave to look different outside the norm back in the day, you’d get a lot of shit from people. I found goths, punks, death rockers, what have you, to be way more interesting to draw than posh Barbie’s and lame superheroes. The female form will always be difficult for me to draw so it’s always a challenge. My proportions are never quite right. The subject matter may also have some significance growing up as the youngest of the litter living with a single mom. She had her struggles as I witnessed day to day. I guess I can relate to women a bit differently? Visually my style may have developed as subliminal nods to favorite album covers, rock posters, early pop art, lowbrow art, melted candy goo on the city sidewalks, many things. I like the idea of creating something visually stimulating from a block away.
5. I noticed a couple really cool monster paintings pop up in your recent work, is this something new that you're looking to push a little further?
Thanks for noticing. A do have plans to create more monster paintings. Currently the ones so far are small 6 x 6 acrylic and gouache works on wood panel. Actually just sold the last one I made of a C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller) at our DAWN 1111 Collective show at 63 Bluxome St Gallery in SF. The monster paintings were something I attempted years ago, with psycho clown characters and venus flytraps, but only created one or two pieces. The idea resurfaced when I sold off the last of my toys from my youth. I acquired them after a visit with my family, whom I had reconnected with after 10 years. One of the toys I sold that stood out was an Inhumanoid Tendril figure, so I painted it. I’m working on one now of the deformed creature, son of the barker, from the 1981 movie The Funhouse. I saw it first on late night cable many years ago and recently caught it on the big screen at the Alamo Theatre’s Terror Tuesdays in SF CA.
6. Finally, PLUGS! Where can people find your work? Any shows/events coming up? I know you're a part of the DAWN1111 collective, could you tell us a little bit about that? Anywhere people can find your work and anything you'd like to share, fire away!
This year, 2020, I do not have any exhibits or events booked thus far, but work is available thru DAWN1111.com. DAWN 1111 is fairly new, a little over a year since inception. It’s an art collective comprised of myself and my lovely girlfriend Kristen Grundy, Photographer / Set Designer / Image and Film Maker. DAWN 1111 is a collective effort to get our work out there as well as collaborating on projects together. Kristen and I are connected in strange ways, unknowingly living seemingly parallel lives from coast to coast. We feel crossing paths again over the years was no accident.
Completely unrelated as far as something to add is we both abhor social media and unfortunately this is the standard way artists have been forced to get their work to the masses. It’s completely oversaturated, not for people like us, and does not seem to be a real viaduct to promote our work. I hope that people don’t continue to rely completely on social media to discover new art. We are totally lost in the shuffle and have been doing what we do for many years under the radar. Galleries are hyper focused on artists' social media presence, likes and followers etc. It hurts people like us who don’t give a shit about that and aren’t willing to pay to play for followers and ads. Thanx for the interview Forrest! I do appreciate the interest!