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Interview with Dorian Spencer Davies

(September 01, 2013)

Interview with Dorian Spencer Davies

 Dorian Spencer Davies


Dorian Spencer Davies has a vivid, playful style. I first came across this Welsh artist's work in a quaint little gallery, tucked away in one of Tenby's winding streets. Having had a love of art and illustration from a young age, he has achieved considerable success; his colourful, distinctive images featuring in many past, and planned, exhibitions. In this interview he tells us how he started, his influences and the plans for his work ...

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Please tell us how you first became interested in painting?

DSD … I was interested in painting from a very young age. In fact I can remember being given colouring books as an infant, and the smell of crayons still evoke a memory of this time. Throughout primary school I was fascinated with painting and drawing and was always encouraged by my teachers, who obviously could see my enthusiasm and flare for art. I was asked to design and paint posters, and to illustrate school magazines. I really got a buzz from this. When I reached secondary school I had a teacher called Paul John who took the subject very seriously. He encouraged me with my work and introduced me to artists and art from around the world, which I found so amazing and exciting.

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Which painters inspire you? Are there any you particulary admire?

DSD … I admire so many painters, for so many different reasons, I can't name them all but here are a few: JMW Turner for his exciting use of watercolour - a painter so far ahead of his time and in some ways his work is often abstract which was so daring in those days; Picasso for his inventiveness, fluidity and originality, I love his female portraits; Monet for his colour and abstracted vision of landscape; Hockney for his bright and direct (no nonsense) approach to landscape and his rich use of colour and form; Alfred Wallis, a retired fisherman and naive painter of ships, boats and harbours; Mary Lloyd Jones for her bold and amazing colour combinations and a surreal approach to the Welsh landscape; the list goes on …

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Your work is heavily influenced by the Welsh landscape, especially coastal areas. Do you have one particularly area which is a favourite to paint?

DSD … I love the west Wales coast and this inspires me heavily, having grown up there. I think, to paint it, you have to understand it from the heart and with a passion. Many artists from outside Wales often paint it, but don't have the secret ingredient of having been born within it and often their work becomes soulless. I could spend the rest of my days painting the Welsh coast and I'd be more than happy with the vistas, views and landscapes. No matter how many times you paint a place, you always see something new within it, whether it be the seasons or the weather that effect it. My favourite places to paint are New Quay, Aberaeron, Porthgain, Tenby, and Barafundle Bay though the list could go on and on …

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Is there anywhere or anyone you are yet to paint, but would like to?

DSD … I would like to paint more of the Llyn Peninsula, Portmeirion, Snowdonia, Cardiff Bay and Mumbles. I have done a few of these but have yet to get my teeth into them! I'm saving these for a rainy day (though hopefully not too rainy! Lol :-)

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Your use colours is vivid and confident. What made you choose such a distinctive style?

DSD … I love colour and using colour within landscape. I just think it evokes emotion and can make you smile. Bright and vivid colours make me happy and hopefully the viewer too. I didn't choose my style, it chose me. Back in 1976 I bought some gouache paints and did a whole series of paintings based on reflections in a chrome kettle. Everything twisted and curved and this was the basic foundation for my work today. I often see a lot of new artists copying what I have done, some even copying my subjects and 'twisting' the landscape as I do. I guess I should be flattered that they like what I do so much they need to copy it for themselves. C'est la vie, I was the first and if I inspire people to create art then that has to be a good thing, I guess.

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … You've also illustrated books. Please tell us how you became involved in this and how it influenced your later work?

DSD … Yes, I did book illustration and have worked with publishers for a large part of my career, though I've always kept my painting separate. I guess that's because with painting, it's a spur of the moment decision as to what to paint. Whereas with publishing it takes a lot of planning, which often diminishes the moment of creative impulse. Though I will be combining the two shortly, with some new books that I've been asked to do - based on the Welsh landscape and my paintings.

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … You've exhibited widely and to great acclaim. What exhibitions do you have planned?

DSD … I don't plan too far ahead with my shows, but I will be having some large touring shows to coincide with book and publishing projects. These will cover the coast of Wales and beyond. I have been invited to do some Cornish and Devonshire projects, but these are on the back burner at the mo until I've finished my Welsh work.

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Is there anything you are yet to achieve as an artist, which you would like to?

DSD … I have already achieved more than I could have imagined. I have work in collections all over the world and a fan base to match who are loyal to me and collect my work. The whole beauty of working and painting for myself and doing what I want, when I want, is gift in itself and I love the lifestyle. I hear so many people moaning about Mondays and work and I think nope I'm not doing that again. I am my own boss and the captain of my own destiny and work, and I love every minute. If I want to get up on a bright day and visit the coast with a sketch book, camera and picnic then I can (and often do) and that's called freedom and living, and it's magic!

Dorian Spencer Davies


CC … Dorian Spencer Davies, thank you.

Art Matters have some of Dorian Spencer Davies' original artwork available online here: www.artmatters.org.uk/artist/dorian-spencer-davies and at The White Lion Street Art Gallery, 1 White Lion Street, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SA70 7ES


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