Canadian street and pop art artist Denial is coming to Vancouver on October 1 for the Art Rapture exhibition. His socially conscious, thought-provoking, satirical work has been exhibited around the world and his murals are located in the streets of cities like Dubai, Toronto, Miami, Chicago, and Detroit, amongst many others.
His work is a critique of society and the things we are “in denial” of. The name Denial is also a play on his own name, Daniel. In this interview, Denial speaks about the intention behind his work, his upcoming shows and his opinion on Vancouver’s art scene.
You have a very pop art style, taking elements of current topics and turning them into works of art with strong social commentary. Why did you decide to openly talk about these issues and how have you seen people reacting to your work?
I grew up in Windsor and Detroit where you can literally see all around you the direct results of a lot the issues my work explores. Homelessness, unemployment, housing foreclosures, access to healthy and affordable food, urban sprawl. I feel that the area I live is the front lines and as an artist it has served me an unending well of inspiration.
Your name denial is also a commentary on things that society is also “in denial” of. What do you think motivates people to buy your art? Do you think they buy it as a conscious reminder effort or as ironic and fun pieces?
In my experience, if you can make someone laugh you can make them think. I use humour in some of my works for this fact, to open the dialogue. I really don’t know why people buy my work but I am grateful to have fans and collectors that help perpetuate my career. If I had to guess I would say they buy it because they get it, they get that things should and could be different, they believe in a future without human injustice/suffering which is the ultimate underlying tone of my work.
Have you always had this style or has it evolved and how?
I grew up drawing all the time instead of participating in class. I moved onto painting graffiti and murals for about 10 years. Along the way my brother and I were teaching ourselves graphic design. My style today is essentially an amalgamation of all those aspects.
When you choose to create a mural in a city, do you plan on topics that are relevant to that city or global topics that anyone can have a basic understanding of?
Certain designs work better with certain buildings or cities. I try and use my best judgment on the flow and design of the mural. Yes, I try and usually paint relevant topics to the area in which I am painting.
You have done some solo exhibitions here in Vancouver, how do you see the art scene and art appreciation here in the city?
I think Vancouver has an amazing appreciation of art. I would love to paint something in Vancouver while I am there.
What’s next for you? Are there any new mediums you want to explore or artists you want to collaborate with?
My next show is in the Silicon Valley, then Miami Art Basel. I like to collaborate with as many artists as I can normally.
Art Rapture, the upcoming art show presenting a mix of urban, pop and provocative artists, is featuring your work in a one-day exhibition. What can attendees expect to see during this show from you?
Subversive pop art with a modern street art/graffiti aesthetic made by one lonely man with a chip on his shoulder.
To see the full line-up of artists and to secure your tickets, visit Art Rapture’s event page. This is an event you can’t miss!
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