extremely personal insight into the works and mind of David Healy, as he shares, in his own words, the origins of his passion for art, reflecting upon the importance that modes of creative expression have within his life, in terms of exploring and understanding one’s internal self as well as a means to leave a symbolic, personal imprint on one’s external surroundings.
“I took part in my first community arts project at age 8, helping some adults paint a massive wall mural at our local parish centre, a form of expression which I’m still involved in today through doing large scale mural work. I’d spent a lot of time outdoors taking it all in, I suppose, to later put what I’d seen throughout the day on paper from memory. I’ve always just had this creative spark in me for drawing and making things and needed to get it out. When I was younger I would do silly OCD things like line things up, wash my hands far too much after opening doors, but as I got older, I phased those things out by channeling that energy more into my work, spending hours drawing technical things, loads of detail and things to look for! In this way art can be such a release, I really think it’s important to have some means of expressing yourself or some place to channel energy into, it’s good for you.
When I was still fairly young, I discovered HR Giger’s Necronomicon book in Thunderbooks, a comic shop in South Shore near where i lived. His dark surrealist images fascinated me; considering how haunting they were, how clean cut they looked blew me away. I recently ticked a massive box off my list when in august I visited his museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland at the end of a three week trip around Germany. Seeing his work up close was incredible. As I stood staring, almost falling into these massive pieces, I realised that things don’t only get lost in translation from looking at images in books or on the internet, even that rendition printed there will have lost some of the depth of the original, but there are so many subtle background details you literally cannot see unless you go to view them in person; how an artist intends their work to be seen has such relevance, while interpretation is still so definitive in perspective. I suppose it’s all part of what makes anything so beautiful. It was an incredible place, there; so dark and futuristic, yet so beautiful located at the foothills of the misty alps.”
David now works under the name ‘INFECTED BY DESIGN’, where features reflect David’s fascination with crisp, futuristic sci-fi-esque art.
“I ‘became’ INFECTED BY DESIGN doing my Uni degree in Graphic Design between 2006 and 2009. We were encouraged to create a prolific identity for ourselves, which I think is important when considering how to create a platform for yourself as an artist. At first it began as a sticker campaign, I made a load of hand drawn stickers with my character logo; Lil’Ted who you can find on Infected clothing and my illustrations around Manchester. The idea was to stick them around, adding details onto Lil’Ted over the weeks, eventually revealing him as a symbol of ‘INFECTED BY DESIGN’. My dad pointed out he looked a bit like me when i was a kid and I started thinking about how subconscious aspects of yourself are inevitably part of anything you create. We are all infectious designs- I considered how, though are made within a certain ‘human condition’, we all have our own unique designs, which really are infectious through interaction and sharing with one another. I also thought about human susceptibility to disease and how humans inevitably die, as part of our design. I’ve always looked at death quite rationally; I’ve never been scared of it, and realised early on that it’s the most natural part of life- what will be will be.
I draw a lot of ‘impossible holes’; mad angles that twist and bend into each other that wouldn’t be considered strictly possible in the physical world; yet there they are on the page. I also love anything to do with the cosmos and stars etc. I often find myself drawing planets or creating imagery relating to deep space. I’ve become especially interested in it over the last few years, with spray paint lending itself so well to misty, cosmic space scapes.
I’ve never been a fan of money or the way the world is so greedy for it, so though while if at work I’m given a specific brief then there will be elements of course must be incorporated into the project, my personal work tends to be more abstract, however; like to just get lost in it- people can and always will perceive what they may.
I suppose if i was more money orientated, I might be further along in some people’s guages of my ‘career’ as an artist, but all that doesn’t interest me, really. I’ve always just wanted to draw, paint and I know that will never stop! I’m sure you can see the buzz for art i have in talking to you now about being ‘INFECTED BY DESIGN’.
When I did my uni degree in graphics, I felt I wasn’t very proficient on the computer, I have always hand drawn everything, so I focused my energies there, whereas the majority of my classmates oppositely whizzed away using the technology without trouble. It was this initially challenging, ultimately distinguishing feature that got me through the course in the end, as i stood out from the others, whereas in the beginning I worried about my work on the graphics side of it all, and found completing briefs a struggle. I chose to do the course as I wanted more strings to my bow, but in the end it was being myself and just do what I do best that got me to the finish line, a fact which has stayed with me ever since.
In art you just have to do your best, be prepared to talk about what you do, and be true to it. It’s nice to have some mystery, but in the world we live in now, everything is out there, people want to know things! I don’t want to tell people not to do courses or go to uni, but my experience has been that just being true to my creative side helped me on toward places and jobs I’ve wanted. Everyone is different.”
For a closer look at David’s infectious work, check him out at ..
Interview by Hannah Dixon and big thanks to David Healy