WORDS BY: Ajay Woolery / Oliver Day
IMAGES: Oliver Day
In our Interview with Artist Oliver Day we discuss the inspirations behind his art and how he communicates meaningful messages about themes like addiction and youth through his artwork.
A: GIVE US A LITTLE INTRODUCTION OF YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO...
Hi, I’m Oli, a mixed media artist from the Midlands, England.
A: WHEN DID YOU REALIZE ART WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU LOVED AND, WERE THERE ANY INFLUENCES IN YOUR LIFE THAT LEAD TO THIS?
I suppose I’ve always been into art it’s just always been around me. My grandad is an artist so I used to visit his studio as a kid and see what was going down there. Another obvious influence would be Jean-Michel Basquiat, his work introduced me to so much and pushed the boundaries of what art could be for me.
A: IN YOUR SUBMISSION YOU MENTIONED YOUR FOCUS ON YOUTH CULTURE IN THE U.K ESPECIALLY SURROUNDING ADDICTION. TELL US LITTLE BUT MORE ABOUT THESE FOCUSES AND WHY YOU BELIEVED IT WAS IMPORTANT TO COMMUNICATE THEM THROUGH YOUR ART?
I think as young artists we can really get a powerful message across to the younger generation because we are a part of it. I think every artist takes inspiration from what’s around them and who are around them whether that’s a landscape or something deeper like a crucifix made out of tablet blister packs. Artists can get a powerful message across in a more pleasant and digestible form. I think that’s what’s so good about it.
SOURCE: OLIVER DAY
A: ARE YOU EVER AFRAID OF HOW BEING JUDGED BY OTHERS AND HOW YOUR CREATIVITY IS PERCEIVED? IF SO, HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THOSE FEELINGS?
When I first started making art on a more serious level, I never used to post it on social media because I didn’t think people would care or take it seriously, but I was completely wrong. Obviously you can’t please everyone and someone will take the piss, but eventually you realise your art is affecting people in more good ways than bad. I always go back to the quote that “any publicity is good publicity”.
A: TAKE US THROUGH YOUR PROCESS AS YOU DEVELOP A NEW PIECE..
After I finish a piece, I take a few days and try and think of a good idea. I usually just look at what is happening in the world around me. Influences just tend to come to me naturally however, I never think too hard about something. I’ve recently been doing paintings called ‘scrapings’ where I just listen to music and paint on a blank canvas or whatever materials I have around. I did a couple of paintings on bits of cardboard inspired by old Jazz club posters. To take something as elegant as jazz and put it on a throwaway material such as cardboard is all part of the charm for me.
A: IF YOU WERE NO LONGER ABLE TO USE YOUR CURRENT MEDIUM, WHAT WOULD YOU USE TO EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY?
If I could no longer make art, I would definitely carry on writing songs with my band and playing my instruments. I also love writing lyrics, that is another good way of getting stuff of my chest.
SOURCE: OLIVER DAY
A: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE CREATORS? WHY?
It’s hard to narrow down but I’d definitely say Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Morrison (of the doors), the rolling stones, Chet Baker, Kurt Cobain, Blondey McCoy and Jimi Hendrix. My work is influenced by musicians just as much as it is by artists. All these creators have had a massive impact on my life creatively and as a person.
A: WE’VE JUST ENTERED 2021 AND IT’S CUSTOMARY FOR MANY TO SET NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOURS FOR THIS YEAR?
I never tend to make any resolutions I’ve never needed to. However, this year I want to carry on making art and hopefully have an exhibition at some point. Also go on my phone less, I’m not the worst but my screen-time is creeping up.
A: FINALLY, WHAT IS SOME ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO ANOTHER YOUNG CREATIVE?
The best life advice I could give is ‘Work hard, Play hard’ and don’t do anything you feel pressured or forced to do.
We’d like to thank Oli for joining us in our Creator series! For more info about his work make sure you give him a follow on Insta!