Self taught photographer Darren Black joins us for the next ArtHole exhibition with his “raw, edgy, uncompromising, confrontational and explicit” shots that retain their strong fashion element in amongst the collage style. As a child of the 80s who split his time between Hong Kong and Europe and eventually settling in New York before returning to London, Darren’s global fashion style has been featured in cutting edge publications and seminal fashion institutions such as Vogue, Elle, Dazed, HUF, and Beige amongst others. Come and be the first to see his brand new work here for ArtHole at Dalston Superstore with a special live performance from Queen Of Hearts in the laser basement.
Who are you and what medium do you work in?
My name is Darren Black and I’m a photographer.
Who was the first artist who mesmerised the young you, and what work specifically caught your eye?
I think the first artist I genuinely noticed as a teenager was Andy Warhol and even though you can’t really see it in my work, I’m still influenced by him today, especially his photography. I’m also into the work of Nan Goldin, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe and Richard Avedon.
What training have you received in your chosen medium, if any?
I studied the basics of photography when I was a teenager but didn’t think it was a career option for me until I reached my mid-thirties, by which time, the world had moved on from analogue to digital, so I had to teach myself how to use a digital camera. I’ve always been a fan of photography and have always carried a camera around with me – even now, I use my iphone to capture moments throughout the day or log various locations for inspiration.
What’s your fave piece of your work on exhibition with ArtHole?
I’m not sure I have a favourite piece but I do really like the simple series where I’ve sliced across the faces of the models – I really enjoy simplicity in my own work even when I enjoy carnage and riotousness in others.
In an ideal world, what would you change about the current art world?
Equality – in 2010 83% of the art at the Tate Modern was by men and at the Saatchi Gallery it was 70%. Going back through art history, women have been marginalised in art and yet objectified in the huge range of art nudes on the market. I think it’s time the balance was redressed. Art should be cutting edge and it should challenge and ask questions – there’s no reason why women shouldn’t be asking those questions and setting those challenges.
What do you aspire to?
I aspire to creating work with integrity – work of merit and relevance.
Tell us a secret about yourself…
I wanted to be an English teacher.
What music do you make your art to?
Deep house – always deep house.
Describe your working process for us…
I approach my work differently depending on what it is I’m doing. At my studio and on shoots, I always work to music – I’m like a lisztomaniac, I cannot stand working in silence. I generally always have people around me too, I find it really easy to concentrate when I’m in a crowd (and also, there’s always someone to make cups of tea too). Working on this project, I printed all the shots I knew I wanted to feature and started putting them in different piles with regard to content and tone. Then I started tearing stuff up and collaging, piecing photos together that were taken years apart but still had a similar thread to them in order to create new montages.
What was the last thing that moved you to tears? Or just moved you generally…?
I love reading and a good book is the kind of thing that moves me. I know I’m behind the curve here, but at the moment I’m reading Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – the writing is so painterly and poetic, it really transports you right into the action.
Join Darren for the launch of his ArtHole show create.destroy.create this Thursday 5th March at Dalston Superstore from 6pm- 10pm.