Our new interview series, 'The Spin', digs deep in the memory banks and record bags of some of our favourite creatives.
David Perry is a London-based artist who recently collaborated with House of Vinyl on an artwork series called Acid Vinyl Junkies that was inspired by our collective love of Acid House (if you know House of Vinyl you will know we speak of little else). David creates clean stencilled images overflowing with layers of vivid colour, influenced by looking at life through colour blind eyes.
Hi Dave, what are you working on right now?
I'm just finishing a couple of commissioned Acid Vinyl Junkie pieces. Since I began working on the idea with you guys of using vinyl records in my stuff they have really taken off, especially after showing them down at the Twickenham Record Fair. I am also in the planning stage of another commissioned piece from my Happy Hour series, only this will be on a larger scale. And I am working a new idea for the Acid Junkies that is hopefully going to be big.
Do you remember who or what inspired you to become an artist?
I have always been creatively minded, but work and other commitments used to take up too much of my time so I didn't get a chance to explore what I could do. Around 7 years ago I was made redundant from my job. I had been a printer for over 20 years, mostly working in the West End of London. But now I had the time to explore different styles and mediums and see what I was half good at. I bought myself a large format printer and was going to try to design and print posters. But over the years I must have printed millions of little bits of paper all trying to be the same as the last one so I decided no more. I decided to only create original pieces. I made a piece for a friend and before I gave it to them I took it to a gallery where I knew the owners. They loved it and told me to do more, so that was it, I was off.
How would you describe your work?
Original art. I like to use different reflective materials, glass, perspex, vinyl records, mirrors. I love to see contrast and depth in my work, the more the reflective the better although this makes it a total pain in the arse to take decent pictures of the pieces. I guess it's mixed media, urban, stencil...hmmmm...I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Do you have a favourite piece or series that you have created?
I would have to say my Colour Blind series. It's the first proper series I created. It was and still is very recognisable as my work. I get people coming up to me saying "oh you are the glasses guy" which is a massive boost for me. I called it Colour Blind because I am partially colour blind. Most people think I'm joking. An ex-printer now a colour blind artist? No way, haha.
Do you listen to music while you are working?
Yep, I have to listen to music when I'm working. All my working days music has been in the background. Working in basements and print rooms you always had the sounds going loud to try and drown out the printing presses. Now in my studio it's the same. I normally find a decent DJ mix and get spraying.
What's in your vinyl collection?
Being from South London and growing up in the 70s and 80s it was all about being a soul boy and the progression from that. There's jazz, funk, rare groove and all kinds of dance style tunes. My son has all my vinyl now although he doesn't look after it properly! When the Acid House culture started I never really bought that much vinyl, it was all about mix tapes for me. They were cheaper for one thing so I could spend my cash on other things if you know what I mean.
You created the Acid Vinyl Junkies series for House of Vinyl inspired by our collective love for Acid House - what are your best memories from back then, how did it effect you?
Going through the whole Acid House era definitely effected my outlook on life. I used to go to Norman Jay's nights, The Good The Bad and Ugly, Gilles Peterson's Special Branch and Cock Happy do's. Big jazz bops in Brighton, all kinds of stuff. Me and my mates loved it, we had stepped away from having to wear a shirt and tie to get into a club and now we had so much more freedom to enjoy ourselves. In 1988 some friends took me to the Mud Club at Buzbys Tottenham Court Road, I didn't quite get it. I went to another Paul Oakenfold night in Kingston. Again seeing my Jazz head mates now wearing bandanas, drinking water and sweating a lot didnt do it for me. I then went to a large warehouse party in Shepherds Bush and boom I got it!! It changed my whole preference to music over night, now I needed bass!! From then on we used to go to Shoom, Land of Oz, Rage, Spectrum, Trip, Sin, oh and always Ziggies in Streatham on a Sunday night. The next couple of years was crazy and the house music scene was great. It shaped so many peoples lives, up and down the country. I know it sounds sooo corny and my kids crack up when I say it but was a real coming together of people that I don't think musically has ever happened or ever will again, but here's hoping.
What would be your Desert Island Discs style go-to record?
When I worked in a printers in Soho I worked with a guy who was also in a rock band. We used to have 30 minute turns on the tape deck, him blasting Indie rock and me Progressive House. We had quite a system in that basement in those days. One day he came in and said he had a bootleg tape of a band he liked. He played it and it blew me away. It was Primal Scream Screamadelica. We rocked that little basement for months, it was a game changer. So stick that album in the bag, it never fails.
And finally, what song would you like to be listening to right now?
My favourite tune to jump around to is Derrick May's Strings of Life.
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