This week Brighton Journal spoke to Dylan Floyd, a local artist and head chef of The Secret Restaurant. His highly detailed work explores our relationship with the natural world, and uses ideas from mythology and iconography to create unique animal portraits. We discussed Brighton’s vibrant art community, why Dylan reckons he’d get along with Caravaggio, and how nothing beats a local pub. Check out his amazing work.
What are you doing today?
Recovering from a busy week in the kitchen. My day job is as the head chef of The Secret Restaurant, a very busy catering company. Much as I’d love to do my art full time I’ve got my little family to consider, so I fit making my art in where I can.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
I do most of my creative work in my head at the moment to be honest. I have a young daughter so free time is scarce, but when I do get the chance I have a little summer house at the bottom of the garden where I make my work. It’s just big enough for a drawing board and a plan chest and that’s all I really need. I’m always thinking about my next project though, so I’m ready for when the opportunity arises.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
When I was younger I used to do a bit of street art, usually very late at night, if you catch my drift? If you want excitement then that’s a good way to get it.
What made you decide to become an artist?
Nothing made me decide to become an artist. I’ve always drawn, I’ve always enjoyed it, I’ve always liked looking at other people’s work and I’ve always been impressed with the skill of great artists. I think it’s just a part of natural human expression, so I just go along with it.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a print with Art Republic at the moment. I can’t say more about it but it is hopefully ready for release at the end of the week.
What are the key themes in your work?
The themes of my work have changed or evolved over time, but essentially it’s about the natural world and our relationship with it. I focus on animals and they tend to be portraits of a sort, but I use ideas around mythology and iconography to try and convey a story within that portrait. They’re like totems or spirits or Gods, whatever you want to call it, and I try and make them real.
What would you like people to notice about your work?
The time and the thought that I put into it.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
I predominantly work with colour pencils and I’ve always drawn rather than painted. I think I like the immediacy of it, I don’t need to wait for paint to dry or to mix the right colour, I just pick up my pencils and go. I also like the mark making aspect of drawing. You can sometimes find the right line by making mistakes or just making lots of lines and you find beautiful things in there that you didn’t even do on purpose. As a kid I loved Leonardo Da Vinci. Not the Mona Lisa or the big paintings, but I loved the sketches he made for those paintings. There are lines everywhere on those sketches and he pulls his picture out from them, but it’s all the lines of work around it that made it beautiful for me.
What equipment could you not do without?
I have a drawing board in my studio that I’ve had as long as I can remember. Its form the 40s or 50s I’d guess, simple, solid and built to last, it’s covered in paint, scratches and old gum tape and it’s perfect. I love it.
Who or what inspires you?
My daughter inspires me every day.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
I wouldn’t stay my work is directly affected by living in this area but I’d say that the art community is so vibrant and has been so helpful in keeping you pushing your work and not giving up. I’ve met some great people and great artists in this community along the way and they’ve all affected my work to some degree.
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
Catch up with friends in pubs. Any friends. Any pub.
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
Anywhere that’s got my work in it.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
I would collaborate with Caravaggio. Not only was he an incredible artist, working in the style that I try to emulate, but he also loved his wine. We’d get along famously.
What’s your favourite colour?
To find out more about Dylan and his work, check out his website.