In the Studio: David Gilligan

Join us as we get to know more about dot-art member David Gilligan’s creative practice in this months featured artist blog.

‘The best advice I’ve been given as an artist might have been from my Dad, he said, “Don’t do it!” Or it may have been from my Foundation Tutor, who said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” or that might have been a book I read once. Either way, fear holds you back. Create for yourself first, if anyone else likes it then that is a bonus (or a relief)!’

Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?

I mostly produce Poly-Cotton Prints, however, I love putting on my overalls and getting my hands dirty in the workshop working on my screenprints.

I love that every screenprint is individual, each possesses its own unique personality, colour variant and texture. I also love the fact that you always leave the workshop with artworks that are completely different from what you expected to produce going in!

Describe your style of art:

It’s always a bit random, to be honest, there is no set plan or a particular style, I like to let the artwork take on its own journey. I like to believe that all the works I’ve created are beautiful and stir an emotional connection in those who view them.

My screenprints are particularly graphic, with a traditional but contemporary twist, I like to mix the old with the new!

Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?

The process always begins with mood boards and initial sketches or designs, which I then adapt and craft digitally to see which colours would work well together. After experimenting with a few ideas I tend to know quickly what works and what doesn’t.

I then take them to the workshop and begin screen printing allowing room for error (I’m often being guided by mistakes)! The outcomes from my mistakes normally work better than what I set out to do, and I’m very happy with that, in fact, I prefer it and welcome it!

When did you begin your career in art? 

Art or creativity? If being creative makes you an artist then I’ve been tinkering for 25 years as a Graphic Designer by trade! But if you mean art specifically, then I would say I started in Australia in 2017. I started with drone photography. I lived on Bondi Beach and decided to buy a drone to capture the magic of the sunrises and sunsets. I ended up selling a few images to local hotels which led to me expanding and opening my eyes to taking up photography as a hobby.

I subsequently moved back to Liverpool and was inspired by the beautiful light striking the architecture as I walked past every day. I decided to start cataloguing my trip to work with my camera. I turned these images into a more graphic representation, and two or three mistakes later we had a new series of artworks!

Who or what inspires your art? 

I am inspired by my surroundings constantly, for example, the graffiti in Shoreditch or waking up at 6am on Bondi Beach, the architecture I encounter on my walks to work in Liverpool or the beautiful roses in my back garden (I mean local florist!).


What is one of your favourite pieces that you have done and why? 

I think it has to be the Black and Gold Liverpool One Collection! I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite out of them. Unfortunately, there is not enough space at home to hang them all up!

What are you working on at the moment?

Many things, as I prefer the idea of being good at everything and the master of nothing! I like the challenge of doing something fresh and new. I love to learn new tricks and do things for the first time. I have a new series planned which looks nothing like what I’ve done before, and a few more ideas in the pipeline that I think will be very exciting to work on.

What’s the best advice that was given to you as an artist?

It might have been my Dad, he said, “Don’t do it!” Or it may have been my Foundation Tutor, who said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Or that might have been a book I read once. Either way, fear holds you back. Create for yourself first, if anyone else likes or loves it then that is a bonus/relief!

What’s your most unusual artistic habit or strangest technique which you have learnt?

Take a picture of your work, whatever stage you are at, and look at it on your phone. The phone frames it and makes it real. You may see something that you may have missed simply because you have changed your perspective. Leave it an hour or a day and look at it again, and all the ‘mistakes’ will pop out at you.

What are your favourite things to listen to whilst painting? If anything! 

Anything to be honest. Silence is the killer, as I can hear myself think!

Discover more of  David artwork on our online shop!