Australian-born mixed media artist Dan Pearce is a key figure in the contemporary urban art world, boasting celebrity collectors and exhibitions around the world. Now based in South East London, he creates stunning artwork that combines modern street art with references to cultural movements and trends- his creations are always cutting-edge and witty, whilst incorporating inspirations such as Warhol and Lichtenstein. Named one of the UK’s “most collectible and emerging artists” by Shortlist, his popularity continues to soar year on year.
The vast array of colours, layers, textures and materials that go into Dan’s artwork is astonishing, allowing the viewer to always pick up on new details with every glance. Some of these materials include (but aren’t limited to) gold leaf, stencils, diamond dust, spray paint, acrylic, textured resin, photographs and even fitted neon lighting in some pieces. One fascinating technique that Pearce has employed in a recent Original piece depicting a Zebra amongst iconography of New York City is shattered glass; encapsulated within resin, the shards of glass give the impression that the animal is breaking out of the canvas. Furthermore, this element of the artwork speaks to a greater message: as part of the ‘Endangered Spaces’ collection, it represents “the fragile nature of the world’s ecosystem, and the damaging impact mankind is having on our irreplaceable wildlife.”
In partnership with the social commentary commonplace in Dan’s portfolio, he is also quite the philanthropist, frequently raising money for numerous charities through the sales of his art. One Original piece depicting endangered wildlife raised £5500 in 2018 for The Peter Jones Foundation, and other recipients of donations include WWF, the British Heart Foundation and the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
The subjects of Dan’s artwork extend beyond animals. He has created custom artwork for the likes of Anthony Joshua, Boy George and Sharon Osbourne, and has pieces dedicated to icons such as Grace Jones, Bowie and the Queen. Incorporating fashion brands, quotes and his own photography to create powerful imagery, his artwork often spills out beyond the constraints of their frames, unable to be contained. He is also unafraid to push boundaries and provoke shock and intrigue, demonstrated by the uniqueness of his portraits of the Queen, which have seen her sporting an army helmet, tattoos and piercings. Dan elaborates on the motivations behind his creations: “For me, art is fun. I only have one objective, to try and engage the audience for a reaction, good or bad. I love what I do, you can never take it too seriously.” The element of humour in his pieces is a self-proclaimed coping mechanism for darker times, bringing comfort and a smile to any challenging situation.
The beauty of Pearce’s pieces is that they are undeniably eye-catching and attention-seeking from afar, but then continue to amaze with their intricate details when seen up close. His adoration for urban art was initially sparked during his time spent living in Sydney, Australia, and his skills are now beloved around the globe.