From Newbold to New York

Words: Simon Paterson
Images: Dave Gee

Dave draws really cool doodle maps! Born and raised in Newbold, Dave is a freelance illustrator now living in the heart of Manchester.
Working from AWOL Studios in Ancoats, Dave’s illustrations can be viewed in many cities including Manchester, Hamburg and New York!
Dave’s trademark are his doodle maps which combine his unique doodle style with cartoonish illustrations creating a map of a city.
Using his trusty posca pens Dave has created artwork for clients based all around the world and has even travelled abroad for some of his trademark doodle map mural pieces.
Having seen Dave’s art on Instagram I was keen to set up an interview with him and feature his amazing doodle map of Chesterfield as this month’s S41 front cover.

So, Dave, did you always want to be an artist?
No! Growing up I always wanted to be a footballer or an actor. I have, however, always had a passion for drawing and have drawn for as long as I can remember. I never thought much of it until one day, when I was around 18, a friend of mine picked up my sketch book which was full of doodles and was amazed by them (his words not mine). After that I started to take it a little more seriously.

Doodle maps are very creative and a cool concept, where did you come up with the idea?
Well, I lived in Berlin for a while and worked in an art gallery; whilst doodling and drawing various pieces in my spare time. The website ‘Art Connect Berlin’ was promoting an open invitation for artists to showcase their work to the public. I signed up and exhibited two pieces ‘Panda and other species’ and ‘Psychedelic Bob Dylan’. Both got a really great reaction. One guy said to me “your doodles are like looking at a city from above”. This comment lead to me coming up with doodle maps. A friend suggested drawing straight onto a street map, but it didn’t turn out how I wanted so just made my own instead!

So which town or city did you doodle first, I’m hoping you say Chesterfield?
As I currently live in Manchester this seemed like the best place to start, so Manchester was my first ever doodle map. Shortly after this I doodled Chesterfield and Sheffield.

How does the creative process work and where do you start?
When doodling a map, like a new place, I’ll make a list of landmarks, businesses, sports teams, monuments etc… Then I will work out the area I want to cover and do a rough sketch adding all the places of interest. I draw on all the roads and finally the houses. All my doodles are hand drawn and then scanned in and vectorised.

Which artists do you enjoy and what inspires you about them?
Thought provoking artists like Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon. I am drawn to anything that is intricate and black and white. Some of my work has been compared to Keith Haring, the New York street artist, although I had never seen his work until I looked it up. I am a big fan now, in fact, I got a book of his work for Christmas this year and I am hoping to see his upcoming exhibition in Liverpool.

Which current art world trends are you following?
I follow a lot of street art, but the big thing for me is beer can art, it’s big business now. ABC Brewing company have an artist ‘Hammo’ who is doing amazing stuff and the artwork from Beaver Town is pretty cool.

Which city do you wish to travel to and doddle the most and which have been your most memorable so far?
Well I have never doodled Berlin despite living there! Earlier this year I was lucky enough to travel to New York and doodle a city centre mural across a wall in the ‘Inside New York Hotel’, that was a great experience.
I did one in Hong Kong with a broken ankle which I sustained playing football at the Proact stadium with my dad. We are big Chesterfield fans and had the opportunity to pay to play at the stadium, so we did. Unfortunately, I hurt my ankle which after one thing and another led me to having a pot fitted in hospital! I then limped around a huge white wall whilst creating a mural of Hong Kong island!

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced so far as an artist, aside from the Hong Kong ankle incident?
I think getting paid and only being able to draw around 50% of the time is tough. There is a lot that goes in to running a business which you won’t know until you have started one!

What do you miss the most about Chesterfield?
I still have a great group of friends here and of course my family. I try to get back monthly if I can. I used to enjoy the football, but this season is a tough one! I tend to go to away games though which works better for me.

This one is a curve ball Dave: You are hosting a dinner party and can invite 4 guests. Whomever you invite will attend, past or present, dead or alive, who do you invite and what do you serve them?
Francis Bacon, I read a book about him going to a lot of dinner parties, so he would definitely be good value. Jack Lester because he is the best player I have seen at Chesterfield. Nick Cave just seems dead interesting and I love his music, so he would be my third guest. Shane MacGowan, a young one as he can’t really speak these days! I Read his book and he is crazy!What would I serve them? Probably lasagne, I reckon I can just about rustle one up!

Finally, what are your plans for 2019?
I want to travel more with the art work and I’m hoping to get a US agent. I am talking to one at the minute. I’m doing two large walls at Meadowhall in 2019 and I will sneak a bit of Chesterfield in the map if I can.

Not only is Dave a great artist, he is a great guy as well. He has offered to giveaway to one of our lucky readers a framed print of his Chesterfield Doodle map! To be in with a chance of winning this amazing piece, go to the S41 Local Facebook page, like and share the picture of Dave’s Chesterfield doodle map, simple!

Dave’s Chesterfield map is avaialble to buy from the S41 Local office in West Studios. Please contact us on simon@s41local.com for further information.