On the 27th January 2015, Artist Graham Dolphin was the guest speaker at transmission, such a humble man who spoke confidently, with total passion for his art. Until this lecture I had never heard of him, yet alone seen his work and now I am truly in awe.
Dolphin, a ‘Visual artist’ born 1972 in Strafford. Studied an Art foundation at King Edward VI in Stafford (1990-1991) and a BA Fine Art in painting at Bath College higher education (1991-1994) and that is where his short art education ended.
Stood in front of the theatre, he spoke of his early influence, reminiscing back to his childhood, how he was inspired by his mother’s old record and video tapes collection that he watched with his parents as a child. Speaking fondly on how the aspects of film and record covers inspired him greatly, remembering mostly the horror ones; ‘Driller Killer’, ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ commenting on the amazing and shocking images and even at the young age of 10 how these influenced him. He recollected that he chose his record purchases carefully, due to a limited amount of pocket money; decided the purchase on the actual image of the record. Being a huge music fan he also bought music magazines; Smash Hits; NME, remembering that he stayed up till 11pm to listen to ‘John Peel’s’ radio station which inspired his love for music, “this was a fertile era for music, these magazines provided us with a different band every week that we could fall in love with” he quoted. I felt so inspired how he spoke of his exact memories with such detail which really reflected his own art practice.
Dolphin continued, concisely speaking about his array of works. One of which I favoured towards was his series of sculptured pieces, where he recreated various ‘objects of remembrance’, memorial pieces for famous celebrities and musicians, for the mourning fans to leave their own messages of condolence. These included a’ bust’ of Jim Morrison, ‘Pillow Rock’ for Bob Marley, but my ultimate favourite called ‘Bench’, made in 2010 was an exact replica of a bench in Seattle where grieving fans left messages for the rock star Kurt Cobain. These replica pieces are some of my favourite works by Dolphin as each piece includes an incredible amount of detail, each aspect of them having gone through a vast experimental process where he used precise details, from finding the exact pen and font of the handwriting to the weathering of the object resulting in an exact replica and once exhibited are actually believed to be the real thing.
Another Dolphin piece which I also regard as one of my favourites is a series of drawings he produced based on celebrities ‘last views’, these were large scale graphite drawings, again featuring celebrities who had died but my favourite being Kurt Cobain due to my interest in him but also because my own project work is focused on Cobain’s suicide and his untimely death. Dolphin’s works captures such true emotions, bringing you close to the person, sharing their last seconds and for this I truly admire and respect his works.
Dolphin has exhibited his works globally. Being interested and inspired by his works, I decided to research him further. Researching his Website I found that he had recently exhibited along with many artists in the USA – the exhibition was called ‘Reverb’ at TBA – Torrance Art Museum for “Artists from various practices came together who all used ‘Music’ as both inspiration and content in Contemporary Art”.
David Muller was one such artist, predominantly a painter, who uses his memories, with music as his subject. Muller is quite an underrated artist in my opinion, but I can see many comparisons with Dolphins work, they both appear to be very obsessive about their art. A piece named ‘Dave’s Top Twenty-Two (Week of 12/13/10)’ is an example that show his obsession, it is very softly painted and quite fragile, appearing old and nostalgic, portraying his memories with music. I can compare this to Dolphins piece called ‘All that I am’ an art work which is text based where he has take over 30,000 artist names from his I-Tunes account filling an entire space by writing each artist in various fonts and directions, a very harsh and repetitive piece but based on music obsession such as Muller’s work.
I feel so inspired by Dolphins lecture and my finding of Muller as I myself use my passion for music as inspiration for my work, I feel truly connected to their works and I am exhilarated with many new ideas that I feel can be incorporated in my own practice especially the use of both type and text to express imagery.
Graham Dolphin – http://www.grahamdolphin.co.uk/
– Photo of Dolphin during the lecture – my own photo, taken on iPhone 4 camera
-“Bench” – http://www.grahamdolphin.co.uk/objects02.html
-“Last View (Kurt Cobain)” – http://www.grahamdolphin.co.uk/drawing.html
-“Dave’s Top Twenty-Two (Week of 12/13/10)” – https://www.blumandpoe.com/artists/dave-muller#works
-“All that I am” – http://www.grahamdolphin.co.uk/drawing.html