I've heard French's name mentioned off and on throughout the years via mutual friends. Then last summer, when I saw his black and white illustrations in a group show at ATM Gallery in New York of everything from animals to death metal, my interest was fully peaked... He just had a show here at KCDC in Brookyln... I chatted with French via email, to find out a little more about the work and the man behind it?
I'm from a town called ALDERSHOT, which is 45 miles south east of London. It's a gnarley place, the home of the British army.
Nah! It's a nickname I got when I was about 12. All the guys I grew up skating with were at least 6 yrs older than me and they used to say that I looked like I a had a French exchange students hair cut... so I got called French boy. No one really calls me anything else.
Like Jamaica, dropped into hell. I fucking hate it. Where I live is meant to be ok. But we still have a problem with prostitutes and crack heads getting in the building to use it as their own special office.
Yeah, I went to Uni in Stoke on Trent. That's above Birmingham and below Manchester, in the midlands of England. I studied Fine Art.
I spent some of my time studying at KU in Lawrence, Kansas. That was one of the best things that I've ever done. I met some seriously cool people and experienced things that many English people would never get to see. Like Frat parties, shooting guns, driving tractors, doing keg stands on a school bus on the way to an Ice Hockey game, skating some sick skate parks. You know all the things you would do in the Midwest.
I haven't destroyed anything in years. I keep all my mistakes and use them for new work or draw into it again later. I don't really feel the need to throw work out, I dunno why.
Yeah, I came over for the show. I actually stayed a month and went to California after, I loved it. It was my 1st time in New York. It's a mental place. I don't really know how we got put together. I know I was asked 'cos I was doing a show with 2K in Holland and it had the same curator as the show in New York. So That's how I got roped into it. I guess the others had a similar contact.
I actually met her in San Fran before that. She was going out with a buddy of mine... she looked after me and friend, while he was out of town. Well, she took us to get drunk.
I never really laugh at comedians or tv, more just life. I'm pretty sarcastic, sarcasm makes me laugh a lot. I guess just dicking about and being a tit to people makes me laugh the most.
I like the stuff Peter makes. I actually met him last time I was in New York. He's such a sound bloke... I really like Death metal more than Black, and I know that I have a love of the music more than an interest in the scene... Neither of them have really taken photos of anyone I actually think is that credible as a band. But their work is both very interesting. Especially Peter's... to get into a scene like that and be accepted is really something else.
Usually I'll work on like 3-4 things at the same time. Something for a show, something for a fashion company... They'll all be at different stages of being done.
It's amazing if you're an ugly English guy, like me, It's like getting a face transplant from Brad Pitt. But it can get annoying after too long.
I've been making collage and colour work for ages... I've always made collage, but I just got more into it recently after I found this amazing colour, children's bible and I made a few drawings that linked with these weird images. The collage thing is difficult 'cos it takes so long for me to find the right images... But when it works it's so much fun and can be really effective. I definitely wanna follow it up more in the future.
I like using colour, but I just think that using it too much detracts from a good image, so I just forget it a lot of the time. I prefer drawing, not colouring in.
Right now I'm working a few different things. I'm working on a bunch of "Stoner Rock" style designs for Altamont t-shirts. I'm also drawing pictures of seagulls for my friend's skate shop's 10th anniversary t-shirt. They're by the sea... in Southsea and seagulls are a big deal.
My buddy Stuart is a screen printer, and people kept asking if I made prints of them. So I just got him to make me 50 of them, and yeah, you can still buy one, I have a few left.
At the moment Vile, Amputated, Vader, Mortician, Autopsy, Psychroptic, Obituary, Prostitute Disfigurement, Gut, Blasphemy, Inquisition, Rompoprop, Baphomet, Devourment, Exhumed, Inveracity, Waco Jesus and Condemned. All death metal really at the moment. I only just discovered Inquisition and Rompoprop so them more than anyone else really.
I use source material. I have loads of books and photos and I get images from the internet. That's how a lot of them look like actual things. But often I'll work from 2-10 images to make one thing. Like I just did this wild boar that blends into a tree and I have 5 images of Boars to work from and 3 or 4 images of trees and roots to help me develop and realize that idea... Obviously parts are made up and the overall idea comes from in my sweed.
I just did some drawings once for a magazine about suicide in Japan and I put them on my website. They're really old now and really I should take them off.
I've been doing boards for Heroin since around 2002, and I just got to make an entire series, which was so good. I love making products, especially skateboards, 'cos that's my passion and what I've always wanted to do... I just made flip-flops for Pointer shoes... I can't wait to see them. It's amazing drawing something and then going into a shop and seeing it on sale, or walk down the street and see someone you don't know wearing something you made. It's a pretty weird experience.
I just drew this mental picture of a blokes head and torso, with his face and body melting by acid. All his face is caved in, his eye is falling out and his chest is melting and his guts are dropping out. I was so happy with the way that one has worked out for me. I dunno, I get excited about most things I draw. I'm just happy to be doing something I really love.
I love every minute of it. Sometimes it's stressful and the pay is shit, people don't appreciate how much work goes into a drawing and all the rest of that stuff I'll complain about if I'm having a bad day. But really, it's all I've ever wanted and I love it. When I dislike it I'll go get a real job, but how many jobs would I get to sit, listen to metal and draw? Only mine.
Metal, drawing, Gustave Dore, John Martin, Grays Anatomy, Gothic Architecture. Chris Moyen, my mum, Peter Dale (r.i.p), skateboarding, Aldershot, tea, traveling, Goya, Sigmar Polke, Tate Britain, history, machines, cities, Imperial Britain, animals, forests, nature, Alanglass, hate, love, Marcus Oakley, zombie stu, the future, Slayer, Martin Kippenberger, Jean Dubuffet, normality, change, life.
Drinking tea, drawing and listening to metal I hope.
Immortal: Battles in the North
Marduk: Panzer Division
Darkthrone: Transylvanian Hunger
Hecate Enthroned: Upon Promethean Shores
Cradle of Filth: All Records
In Memory of Celtic Frost: Celtic Frost Tribute
Crusade from the North: Moonfog Compilation
Dimmu Borgir: Anything after Enthrone Darkness
Triumphant Burzum:Anything after Filosofem.
They're twats! Panzer Division? Marduk and Transylvanian Hunger are totally amazing. They know nothing. CUNTS! And all the Immortal albums are sick. But the rest are bullshit.
Shit That's hard. Either Mortician , Bolt Thrower or Insidious Decrepancey. I've seen Bolt Thrower before, but they are always good and I really couldn't believe how amazing Mortician were live. Insidious was so brutal..so, so brutal. All the gigs were at the Camden Underworld, a true metal venue where you can sacrificially devour Carlsberg, that makes the real difference.
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