Street artist Fin DAC: ‘I paint to beautify the urban landscape’ | Street art
When Fin DAC gave up his daily job to focus on creating huge murals on the streets of cities around the world, his main fear was not so much of failing as of falling.
“I learned to control my fear of heights. I removed the irrational part of that fear, but that doesn’t mean my knees don’t turn to jelly when I climb over the edge of a building that has a drop of 200 feet, ”the artist said. of Irish origin.
In the nine years since leaving at the age of 45 as a designer for digital advertising agencies, Fin DAC has grown into one of the world’s best-known street artists, painting murals. giant murals in Paris, Berlin, Milan, Tokyo, Sydney, Los Angeles. and other large cities. He is also one of the most collectable living artists, whose clients include actors Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton, and musician Goldie.
This month his work will be featured in his first solo exhibition in the UK. The London exhibition will include his first sculptures, more than two dozen new pieces and a studio interpretation of his giant fresco by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in Guadalajara. The only time he exhibited was in 2015 in Venice Beach, California.
The Covid pandemic forced Fin DAC to enter a studio. “I used to be on a hamster wheel traveling and trying to produce as much work as possible. I didn’t give myself enough time in the studio to go further in my work. So most of the work for the show takes new directions. “
His limited edition prints sell out quickly: Midaro, a collaboration with photographer Mick Rock, has sold over 200 prints in 20 minutes to buyers in 36 countries. The income helps fund his usually self-funded public art. “I have to pay for planes, trains, hotels, painting, scaffolding and elevators. “
Street art has been on the rise for a decade, “mostly because of Banksy – the rest of us are chasing him.” After leaving the world of digital advertising, in which “you basically force people to swallow their throats, make them think they want or need something,” Fin DAC embraced the idea of an art accessible to everyone. “I don’t paint the wall for anyone to buy my work, I paint it to beautify the cityscape. There is no big sale.
He is best known for painting portraits of Asian or Eurasian women with a mask over their eyes. “There is a distinctive look: a provocative and powerful look at them. They are not objectified or sexualized, and it is a different narrative than what we are used to in the female portrait.
“And the reason I started painting Asian women in particular was because of all ethnicities, they seemed to be the ones with the least positive portrayals, especially in the West.”
In 2019, Fin DAC was commissioned to paint Kahlo on a 200-foot wall in Guadalajara, Mexico. “I said, if I don’t imbue it with the identity of my own work, then it doesn’t make sense for me to do it.” He is the only artist to have been authorized by the Frida Kahlo Foundation to modify his image by adding a mask.
The mural, which took 11 days to paint, is his largest to date. “Once you’ve got over the fear of the ladder, it’s actually a lot easier to paint large murals. No one will come near the wall; they won’t necessarily see minor mistakes you might make on the web. They see it as a spectacle from afar.
Fin DAC is self-taught. At the Cork school, “I was only really interested in two things: art and technical drawing. Unfortunately, it was a school that did not have an art program.
He became a technical draftsman on engineering projects before becoming a digital designer. But “something pushed me” to devote myself to art.
“I was dissuaded from becoming an artist when I was younger because I didn’t believe that being able to paint a beautiful picture was enough to make you financially viable.
“The success of what I do has proven to me that everything I told myself when I was younger was bullshit. I told myself that I was not good enough. Artistic fear paralyzes a lot of people. we.