Meet the Others: Dex
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
The Other Art Fair London exhibitor Dex is known for his witty and detailed illustrations encompassing everything from literary maps of London to thought provoking graphics of our favourite song lyrics. Read on to discover more about his detailed process and a very interesting fact that you’d be surprised to hear from an illustrator!
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
I am a London-based artist who creates handcrafted typographic work with themes of literature, music and film. Probably best known for my graphic maps of Londontown.
I am also the co-founder of Run For The Hills, a multi-disciplinary, award-winning creative design house specialising in art, branding and interiors.
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Typographic, Thoughtful, intricate.
Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork finished?
Before starting one of my maps I start the research process. For example, my latest map is Animals Of London. I start by thinking of different ways I can find animals. From London’s many statues and sculptures. Historic animal incidents, animals in film or music or literature. Then actually where the animals are. The zoos and the parks. The museums. The indigenous ones. And I start compiling lists. I have notes on my phone because I am often on the move when I see or think of things.
Then I think about the crop. Over the years of creating maps I’ve realised that the further out you go the harder it is. Lots of books or films are set in central London and not so much the outskirts. So recently I’ve started making the crop a bit more zoomed in. Then I will take screenshots from google maps and piece them together in Photoshop. I will the bring that into Adobe Illustrator, locked on a background layer. Then I’ll start using that to guide me as I start plotting things on using my Wacom tablet. Depending on the map, I’ll start with landmarks, parks and the river. I take quite a scatter gun approach, and just put things on as and when I find them. Most maps haven taken about six months to complete. Some areas are really tricky and I can spend a day trying to find books set in Rotherhithe.
On the second question, how do I know when an artwork is finished… Sometimes I feel they are never finished. I constantly want to keep tweaking, updating, reworking…
Process video of Animals of London.
Has being in isolation affected your artwork practice in any way?
Positive: As the world lockdowned it allowed me to focus on Animals Of London, meaning I finished it in just three months. Negative: Not being able to go out to galleries, exhibitions, cinema, music gigs, all rich sources of creative inspiration for me…
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
Persevere, and create art that you love, for you, regardless of what other people think.
Can you tell us something about you that people would be surprised to hear?
I am left handed but I draw with my right hand.
Shop artwork by Dex and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.
Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.