Brilliant Brighton (a not-for-profit organisation formed of 517 of your favourite city centre stores, cafes, salons, restaurants and bars) has teamed up with Brighton cultural organisations, artists and creatives from the ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan to showcase Brighton’s vibrant art scene with a colourful art trail with work by local artists encompassing walls, bus stops, lampposts and street furniture throughout Brilliant Brighton.
We chatted to artist Dave Pop who is renowned for creating bright, bold pop art with a generous topping of seaside sauce, and whose eye-catching mural on Boots’ wall, on North Street, has been commissioned as part of the Enliven Brighton Art Trail. Find out more about how he became an artist, working at Choccywoccydoodah, hear his inspiration for the mural and love for the city:
Hi Dave! How long have you lived in Brighton?
I have lived in Brighton over 25 years.
How did you become an artist?
I always loved to draw as a child, but unlike most people, I never stopped, eventually getting a degree in Fine Art. After uni, I tried several careers including artist, fashion designer, go-go dancer and even pop star. Eventually I found a steady job at Choccywoccydoodah, creating outrageous chocolate sculptures for the rich and famous, designing the logo and packaging, and even travelling to America with the reality tv show.
I always carried on doing my art, with the occasional exhibition or commission, so when Choccy sadly closed in 2019, I threw myself into being an artist full time! The pandemic hit not long after, (not great for someone just become self-employed!), so I took the time off to do an online course in fairground art and lettering. These have always appeared in my work, but now I feel more confident with my skills.
Can you tell us a little about the process behind your work?
I always start with pencil sketches, this is my favourite way to get ideas from my brain onto paper. After I am happy with a design , I scan it into my computer where I can experiment with colours and scale. For this mural, I made stencils for the formal lettering as I knew I’d be up a ladder, so wanted to find the quickest way possible! For less formal lettering or figures, flowers, birds etc, I can just draw freehand in chalk then paint over using spray or emulsion paint.
Where do you work from?
If I am not working on site, I have a studio at home where my two dogs Trevor and Geoff like to keep me company.
What was the inspiration behind your work for the Enliven Brighton Art Trail?
The brief was ‘community and kindness’ so I chose the lyrics ‘You give a little love and it all comes back to you’, a song from Bugsy Malone, as it was just perfect, and I hope a few people sing it after seeing the mural.
How did it feel to know your work had been put forward for the trail?
I was absolutely chuffed, thrilled to pieces!
… And how does it feel to see it in situ in the city centre?
I saw it from the bus the other night, it was so exciting to see my art as part of the Brighton cityscape.
Does living in Brighton inspire your work at all?
I can’t imagine creating my work anywhere else, the saucy seaside vibe being so influential to my work.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I never know what project is around the corner, which is exciting but also slightly scary, but as long as I can have a brush in my hand, I’m a happy man.
Finally… what do love most about living in Brilliant Brighton?
There are so many things! The beach, the sunsets, the clubs ( for when I was young), the cosy pubs (for now I’m not so young), but mainly the beautiful mix of freaks and weirdos that make me feel so at home.
Find Dave’s mural at Boots, North Street. See more from him on Instagram: @davepopart.
Images by Bip Mistry