Despite beginning his artistic career a bit later than most, artist Fin DAC has blossomed into a highly skilled craftsman that has consistently turned heads in the urban art scene.
After a nasty break-up pushed him to explore new facets of himself and his creative potential, he sought out to understand passion and freedom on a deeper level and used them to find fulfillment.
He classifies his style as Urban Aesthetics (a contemporary exploration of older artistic movements) and uses this methodology to create stunning murals and canvases.
Fin's goal was to spark conversation about female roles in art and subvert the narrative that ethnic women were submissive beings to be ogled and objectified.
He takes great care to ensure that his muses are depicted as both striking and powerful but devoid of the tacit sexuallity that can accompany this kind of artwork. In regards to this he stated that:
"When I started down this road I set out to try and ensure that my muses were not objectified or sexualized. Of course you don’t have 100% control over how the work is viewed but for certain I could take steps to limit the possibility of getting that ‘phwoarr’ reaction from viewers."
The pieces showcase a kind of regality that is predicated upon by culturally relevant standards of beauty as opposed to what the western world may define as attractive. By adopting a progressive credo that seeks to eliminate the casual sexualization of women, he has fostered some interesting dialogue over the years.
Even though the landscape is constantly shifting, it is still fairly uncommon to see women presented as commanding and influential.
I was able to ask him a few questions about his creations and motivations as an artist.
Prox: In an era where everyone wants things to happen so quickly, did beginning your artistic career a bit later than others teach you anything about patience and timing? How did that extra maturity help your art?
Fin: I would love to say that I was mature when I started my life as a street artist but it would be a lie. I was the typical man who had grown old and yet, not really grown-up. My artistic journey was what kick-started a healthier and happier life and the maturity was simply a by-product of both. Ironically I have a complete lack of patience but I’m the complete opposite when it comes to my art… that’s one of the reasons I knew instantly it was the life for me. Painting always was and is a meditation for me. As for timing, I think that just comes automatically when you are consumed by something… like you make your own destiny by the sheer force of your determination.
Prox: Pain and transitioning into a new phase of your life really helped you sink into your work. Did you develop a new outlook on hardships and loss? What can pain do for an artist that happiness can not?
Fin: What my art done was simply to help me stop thinking, worrying and caring about stuff so much that it becomes debilitating. It helped me to understand that, if you’re on the right path, the world or the universe or whatever you believe in will assist you in that goal. Equate it to the power of ‘positive thinking’ but with the addition of ‘positive doing’. For certain it was pain that drove me to paint but I didn’t necessarily want that pain to be obvious in my work because that would have been way too cliché. Knowing now that I never want to go back to being the person I was before I became an artist… that’s all the inspiration I need to carry on.
Prox: How does non-conformity spill over into your creations? How does it impact your mission as an artist?
Fin: My non-conformity was always more about the fact that I didn’t and don’t fit in and the mindset that I’ve never wanted to. When I started painting 10 years ago I was painting ‘pretty women portraits’ with little or no aesthetic reference point to the various thematics that were prevalent at the time. The attitude I got from other artists was that this was a bad thing… I thought the opposite. My mantra was that no one ever stood out by fitting in. That’s still how I feel today: I don’t want my work to look like anyone else’s. Quite often the accusations of similarities to other artists irritate me because I know that they have to come from very different places that maybe the layman just simply doesn’t see.
Prox: It seems like we’re shifting towards a more female oriented world, but it’s still surprising for some to see big murals of powerful women. Why is this so shocking when the woman has been an artistic muse for centuries now?
Fin: In my opinion, its because throughout history and even to this day the typical female muse is painted passively or submissively. When I started down this road I set out to try and ensure that my muses were not objectified or sexualized. Of course you don’t have 100% control over how the work is viewed but for certain I could take steps to limit the possibility of getting that ‘phwoarr’ reaction from viewers. Generally, I get the ‘she’s badass’ comments which, given the context of the work and the current times, is not that far removed from a sexual reaction but subtle enough to tell me that my work is not viewed as mere titillation.
Prox: Do you work with a different philosophy when you create smaller pieces? What does the extra space provided by murals allow you to say on a symbolic level?
Finbarr: No, I create designs that can and should work in all contexts…. and hopefully the implementation of them proves that. If anything the large scale murals are easier because you don’t have to be such a perfectionist with the paint application. As for the symbology: I never talk about that stuff as it limits the viewer’s ability to read into the art whatever they want. Definitions and descriptions are like a hydraulic damper for an open mind and viewpoint.
Prox: For those who may not understand you, what does Fin DAC stand for as an artist? Is there anything that you feel you bring to the culture that is missing at the moment?
Fin: Whatever I am as an artist, as a person, I am first and foremost a pretty shy and retiring person so, shouting about myself and how important I am to anyone or anything, is something I would never do. I don’t think it’s up to me to say where my work fits in the culture… I’m happy to let others do that for me whether those opinions are positive or negative. I’m an artist because I have to be… it’s the only thing I’ve done that has meant anything to me deep down.
When you connect to ‘that thing’ and realize that the majority of people never have the fortune to do that in their lives, then everything else becomes spectacularly unimportant. I downplay my work deliberately under the moniker of it being ‘simply about beautification’ but the very fact that there are so few strong depictions of women in modern society should highlight that there’s much more going on in my thought processes and approach.
Prox: Any new artists, books, music, or movies/shows you’d like to recommend?
Fin: My latest book purchases were one from Inti – a Chilean street artist of extraordinary talent and a book on Drew Struzan – the pre-eminent ‘movie poster’ artist. Exhibitions I’ve been to recently include Inti at Itinerance Gallery in Paris, Logan Hicks at Openspace in Paris, Evoca1 at Stolen Space in London and my good friend Astro at Square23 in Turin. Blade Runner 2049 was the movie highlight of the decade for me so that would have to be my recommendation.
Prox: Would you like to share some information on any upcoming releases you have on the horizon?
Finbarr: I have a new limited edition screenprint coming at the end of the month with GraffitiPrints in England and I’ll be exhibiting a few pieces at the Urban Art Fair Paris and Moniker Art Fair, New York in April and May respectively.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Finbarr: Inspiration is a gift from the universe, talent is an ability to bring it to fruition and humility is what you should achieve when you share it.
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