Dan Baldwin has just released his latest edition and it offers up, not only a deeper insight into the man behind the paint, but also reflects a subtle shift from his more usual subject matter. The result speaks for itself as we take a further look.
When you think of an artwork from Dan, a few things come to mind – Death, the celebration of death, Vanitas all feature very highly. Baldwin’s unique, idiosyncratic style of very bold, colourful works jam-packed with metaphors and symbolism surrounding death were very ahead of the game when they first emerged well over a decade ago. Since then numerous artists have emulated the style.
We must not forget that Baldwin was reflecting and translating Mexico’s ‘day of the dead’ celebrations, and their use of the skull, in his art and in a commercial way, much earlier than when a certain Damien Hirst put the skull at the forefront of commercialism as a fashionable image with his jewel-encrusted ‘For The Love of God’.
Since then, as all artists must, Dan has evolved and developed. With his latest edition, simply titled ‘Love’, we see Baldwin move away from a celebration of death and move toward a celebration of life.
'I worked in a video shop for five years or so in Hove whilst I was still on the road to being a full-time artist. It was a great shop and was generally a bit of a hangout. Annie (my girlfriend) was a regular customer; I remember serving her for years. One day she stopped coming in. Two years later, I was walking along, back from Milan, just off to the train, and I saw Annie coming towards me. I did a double-take and so did she; we had this moment in the street.
Months later, one summer’s day, she walked up to me with an ice lolly, holding it in her hand and said 'you look like you need this'. It was the first time she ever spoke to me and she almost didn't go through with it out of a nervous fear, but she felt she had to make contact. Another six months went by, I was single, so was she, I asked her out for dinner and our date lasted 36 hours. That was five years ago and now we have an 11 month-old baby.
The piece Love was originally going to be called Peach, as that is Annie's favourite colour. Then it became Peach Video Girl. As the painting grew, I changed it to just Love. There is a lot of symbolism in the work: the poppy, the orchid, the swallow, the little girl, the little boy, a bird feeding its young, and the skeletal hand/figure searching for its love even in the afterlife.
This was the beginning of a series I want to make called Spectrum; more about colour, harmony, beauty. I also like the melting ice lolly as a metaphor, there's something striking about it, dropped by a child or discarded- left to melt....'
Baldwin’s new edition is a 24-colour silkscreen print, which features embossing, 3 glazes, gold leaf underglaze and gold leaf overglaze, and diamond dust.