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Daryl Waller at Pixelate
Daryl Waller’s presence as a guest speaker at this year’s Pixelate marked a wonderful opportunity for burgeoning artists to hear the thoughts of a much loved eccentric. Born and raised in Cornwall, Daryl returned to place an experienced eye upon the offerings of our young experimental film makers.
Though Daryl now resides in London, his roots and growth as an artist is firmly based away from his concrete easel. Daryl’s artistic trajectory began age 14 after discovering musician and Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow’s understated solo LP Weed Forestin’, a record Daryl's website emphasises as having ‘inspired every single piece of art I’ve ever made’.
'I stand by this statement. That record means a great deal to me. It was the green light that I needed at age 14. It spoke to me and it represents integrity in its purest form'
Though widely appreciated for his street art, sketches and experimental videos, Daryl is also a recording artist having recently released ‘Call of Duty EP’, a concept piece about the effects of the titled videogame on young children. Though new to recording music, it does not appear to be a means of sidelining his video output.
I don't really have ideas and then apply it to a medium; it's not really how I work. My work is more instinctual. I don't feel conflicted between my visual and aural work at all. Some work is for the eyes, some is for the ears, and other work can be for both. I like the idea that an artist can work in any format. I don't subscribe to the idea that artists' should work in one field.
Daryl's liberal use of differing art forms transcends the restrictions often imposed on those unwilling to branch out. It’s interesting, however, to find that his often exhibited video work came about against the artist's will.
I had a test for dyslexia during the first year at the Royal College of Arts, it was found that I had the disability and was given a bunch of free equipment to help me cope. One of the items was a Mac laptop, looking back getting that machine dragged me kicking and screaming into the modern world and introduced me to video editing and image manipulation. Before that I wouldn't even scan an image. I also preferred the collage photocopier and spent way too much cash on it.
He exhibits a rogue approach to art, choosing rather to go with instinct and physical creativity rather than following the stringent guidelines familiar to art students. This lends his work a tangible, sense of individuality; most apparent in his visual series ‘Interventions’.
Whilst studying at the Royal College of Art in 2002, I wanted to make an unofficial music video for a song found on Weed Forestin' but had no idea how to go about it. So I just bought a digital camera and made it up as I went along. It was all a bit ignorant, I knew in the back of my mind that there was already a history and way of doing things with animation but I'm too eager to get on with projects before learning the basics.
The 'Intervention series' best demonstrates a playful approach to artistic experimentation. It's also where Daryl's Cornish roots are best displayed visually, using the streets and countryside as a palette for creativity. Examples of these include inscribing troll jokes on the side of a Newquay bridge, painting a post box neglected by the council blue, yellow and purple and then documenting the wait till it’s returned to her majesty's red. Another shows the placement of custom made signs next to a church's drainpipe, with the words ‘Holy Water Overflow’ embossed upon it, a piece which took 11 months to be removed.
'I've always felt more at ease making work public work in Cornwall; most of my intervention work comes from walking about in Cornwall. I have an idea for a piece of work on a walk, which might be something really simple like writing on a bridge, but the idea niggles and I end up returning to the location, making the piece and documenting it. Cornwall feels more like a playground and I like that feeling. I can't make that kind of work in the city. It just doesn't do it for it. I like nature'.
Many students see London as the ultimate goal following graduation, a place of financial and artistic fertility. For Daryl however, the move seems to indicate a large aesthetic departure from the naturalistic landscape of the South West. Thankfully, it has done little to change his unique approach.
'I don't think my approach has changed that much. I think studying art has made me more aware of other things going on. This has altered the course of my work for sure but I'm not sure if it's altered my approach to making it. I don't make work about London or being in the city but I know that I'd rather not live there but the problem is I'm not sure where I should be!'
Having had it exhibited at The Exchange Gallery, Goldfish Contemporary Arts, Battersea Arts Centre and August Contemporary Arts London (as well as drawing the attention of revered cult musicians Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) and Lou Barlow) has proven that Daryl’s work has an element of relevance for every surveyor. Though his artistic influences may all root back to music, it hasn't stopped the artist from using the medium as a means of creating visuals.
I've always loved listening to music much more than looking at (or thinking about) art. For me music ticks more boxes. When I was younger I never had the opportunity to make music myself. I've always tried to approach making art like making music. I wanted my paintings and drawings to be like little songs or sound pieces. This isn't to say I feel hard done by, I’ve always felt happy with being a visual artist and it's only recently that this has altered in a natural way.