Skip to main content

Please wait - map loading

Hide map

Meet our Brilliant Brighton banner artist: Dave Pop!

If you’ve been out and about in Brilliant Brighton over the last few weeks, chances are you’ve seen our wonderful Brilliant Brighton banners brightening up the city centre streets! The banners (funded by local businesses to add more colour and creativity to the city centre over the summer) have been designed by local artist Dave Pop!, following a call for commissions earlier in the year.

To find out more about the artist behind the banners, we had a chat with Dave to hear about his inspiration, his process and love for the city…

Hi Dave, how long have you lived in Brighton?

I have lived in Brighton for over 30 years, so I think I can call myself a Brightonian!

Can you tell us a little about how you became an artist?

I started drawing when I was 3, same as everyone else, I just never stopped! My first memories are of drawing dinosaurs, then moving into a very ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ phase, then Greek mythology ( a great reason to draw sexy men in skimpy togas).

I went on to study Fine Art at Coventry, then was lured to Brighton by the bright lights, seaside and bohemian atmosphere. I spent all my time making crazy clubbing clothes and showing off as much as possible, even managed to sign up with a tiny record company to release a single, but pop stardom remained elusive ( there are still many fantastic videos of my musical endeavours on Youtube, check out ’Too Much Make-up!).

At the age of 30 I thought I should start to grow up, so I got a regular job at Choccywoccydoodah, an iconic Brighton chocolate cake shop. This turned into an amazing experience, as I learnt to make sculptures using chocolate, and my brilliant bosses encouraged me to make more and more outrageous shop window displays of tattooed mermaids, kitschy cute puppies and even a self portrait in gold hot pants riding a unicorn! ( shy as always!). I always carried on doing my own art and painting murals, including one in the Palace Pier restaurant. Sadly the company closed 5 years ago, but that proved the push I needed to become a full-time artist, and when the pandemic hit, I took an online course in fairground writing and art, which solidified my love for this decorative style, which I now use to create my own contemporary pop art. My work can be found all around Brighton, from street art to bars, restaurants and occasional gallery exhibitions.

Amazing! Can you tell us a little about your process?

Drawing remains essential to my work, so it always starts with a pencil and paper. I then import that sketch into my computer so I can work out colours and scale. I use a range of different paints depending on the size I’m working on – spray cans and emulsion paints for large murals to using tiny sign writing brushes with enamels or acrylics.

Where do you create from?

I have a tiny little studio in my flat that is full of all my arty stuff in complete chaos. I keep meaning to sort it all out, but just end up drawing or dancing instead.

How would you describe your style? 

I fell in love with the decorative fairground style found on the pier when I first visited Brighton many years ago. It has all the dynamics and colour of pop art, but retains the skilled hand painted elements. I wanted to capture the fun and joy of Brighton, so using traditional fairground/ circus/ tattoo style (there seems to be more tattoo parlours than hairdressers in Brighton!) was a natural fit.

How does it feel to be our commissioned banner artist this summer?

Thrilled to pieces! I’m really chuffed to be showing my art all over Brighton this summer, I love living in this city and it’s a constant inspiration to my work. I’m always happy if I have a pencil or brush in my hand, and I love showing off my work to friends and family when they visit, so I’m telling everyone I know to come this summer!

And finally, what do you love most about living in Brilliant Brighton?

Living so close to the sea gives everyone such a fantastic space to just breathe, or meet friends with a bottle wine. Brighton has a unique personality, there’s so much going on and the cosmopolitan progressive attitudes of a major metropolis, but with the cosy pubs and friendly atmosphere of a small village.

See banners designed by Dave Pop! as part of Brilliant Brighton’s summer dressing campaign (also including colourful bunting and hanging baskets) on North Street, Western Road, Preston Street, Market Street and Bond Street.