Darren John is best known for his work on the value of the creative imagination. His work calls for increased accessibility in art; in both access to art and in the creative act itself. Darren’s work can often be seen in the public space and he is enthusiastic about integrating art with life.
Darren is an active supporter of producing public-art-for-good projects; works that seek to benefit, enrich and provide value to the people of which these works reside. Darren is both a Founder and Lead Artist at Absolutely Studio - a mural production team that creates large scale artworks on behalf of many great artists around the world.
Ahead of Darren’s debut collection with us at Art Republic, we sent him a handful of questions to provide some deeper insight into his artwork and studio practice.
"Find what truly motivates you, your desires and your curiosities and work your butt off to bring more of it in to the world" - Darren John
AR: What's the best piece of advice you've been given as an artist?
DJ - I’m a self-trained artist and I've spent a lot of my creative career observing the paths, movements and approaches of my peers and others. It's been invaluable in navigating my own pursuits and in being able to market my work effectively and without diluting the core mission behind it.
I’ve found that many artists are quite resistant to sharing information as if it would be revealing secrets that would allow others to surpass them in their careers. I think this is a very poor mindset that I believe comes as a result of the perpetuation of the term ‘the starving artist’.
I’ve made a point in doing the opposite to this and I think we would all benefit by moving our creative consciousness forwards collectively by sharing more.
AR: What other artists inspire you?
DJ - There are so many fantastic visual artists around, more than ever before in history since we can see works from so many artists from all around the world.. from devices in our pockets.
While there are a lot of great things to see, I’m inspired more by ideas. In particular I’ve been hugely inspired by the ideas and essays that drove much of Keith Haring's work.
I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the tenacity and passion in the writings and work of the late art critic Robert Hughes.
And this quote is especially potent “There is no such thing as good painting about nothing” - from a letter co-authored by Mark Rothko and Adolph Gotlieb to New York Times.
DJ - Rather than look externally for sources of inspiration and direction.. Look inside. Find what truly motivates you, your desires and your curiosities and work your butt off to bring more of it into the world.
DJ - Right now I would just like to be able to share more of my artworks and more of my projects to people in the physical space.
Beyond this, I'd really like to continue to merge art and life together in ways that are encouraging, inspiring and feel natural.
Producing artworks on outdoor sports courts, playgrounds and objects around the home are brilliant for this - so I'm keen to create more opportunities to paint artworks and murals around these.AR: What research do you do before starting a new theme/brief - where do you begin?
DJ - My painting projects are typically informed by each other. So the process and parts that I loved from the previous set of paintings will often find their way into the next set.
This means that the whole output form my studio can follow a unique and personal lineage to myself. This is super exciting because I’m not producing as a result of external inspiration and so it would be impossible to predict the direction of my work! I love this!
It also means there's no end and the more you explore, the more you discover! What a beautiful metaphor for life.
".. the more you explore, the more you discover." - Darren John
You can find more about Darren and find his available works with artrepublic here.You can also view his studio diary via his Instagram here.