Ask the Artist – Dave King

Dave King moved to the Algarve in June 2021 due to family, Brexit, the weather and the landscape – in that order! His work is an eclectic mix of influences and references which is continuing to develop in his adopted country.

Dave, first tell me what went wrong with your A-level art?!

Art was a failure at school because I always wanted to do my own thing and not what the teachers wanted me to do. I failed my Art A level twice! However, this same work was taken to Cardiff Art College for an interview and they accepted me on the spot! I then went on to do a BA Hons in Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art in the late 70s. Years later, I gained a Masters in Fine Art Theory and Studio Practice at Plymouth University. Meanwhile, I taught at a school in Cornwall for 29 years before finally retiring to a sleepy Devon village before moving to the Algarve as my son, his wife and our grandson live in Lagos. 

Have you managed to establish yourself in what I understand is quite a crowded art scene?

Not really established as yet. I think it will take a number of years before I am accepted as ‘a locally known artist’, but I am aware that I have a particular style, a particular type of work that is easily recognisable as being mine, so that might help.

Where did the inspiration for your current style originate?

The primary inspiration comes from a training in abstraction in the late 70s and early 80s, coupled with a passion for any kind of art which challenges the intellect. Connections with the forms and ideas behind Cubist painting are pretty obvious, but my inspiration can come from literally anything I come across, online or in “real” life. 

The way I make my paintings is through improvised drawing on an iPad, created using ‘self-made’ rules of design. These are then ‘filled in’ with subject matter found on the internet and rendered as an imaginary scene. Inspiration, therefore, is really just bringing all my memories of different artists’ work and objects with photos and images I have collected to bear on a particular composition and then making a coherent painting from it.

Recently, I have started to use images of azulejo tile painting and plate designs in the work together with a range of Portugal-inspired subject matter – sardines, mackerel, oranges, lemons, avocados and wine glasses.

What materials do you use?

Nearly always oil paint. But I paint on many surfaces: wood, aluminium, paper. I don’t tend to work much on canvas because I enjoy the resistance that a harder surface gives. A canvas texture can spoil small details in the work, too, unless it’s heavily primed. I like my paintings to have the look of a sculpture hanging on the wall, hence the shaped ‘canvases’, so I tend to use materials I can shape myself rather than buying ‘off the shelf’.

Where can we see your work?

I have recently hung a show with another artist from the area, Liz Allen, at the gallery space of Fine & Country in Carvoeiro. It runs until the end of the year, I believe. The work I have made since I retired in 2013 can be seen on my website. I have recently joined a collective called Artlink, which creates pop-up exhibitions and art events throughout the Algarve. I have also enjoyed being part of a curatorial group called BoaBoa, who are organising very exciting art events in the west Algarve now.

Dave’s exhibition can be found at Fine & Country Rua do Barranco 62, Carvoeiro, 8400-508.


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