Get to Know Artist Daniel Labrosse
@labrosse is an artist, illustrator and animator based in the UK and Hungary. His work brings normal, everyday scenes to life with animation and bold, colorful illustration atop photographs.
The visual artist has an upcoming solo exhibition showcasing his work and exploration of Augmented Reality.
Interviewer Mayah Taylor (@mayah) is Ello’s Giveaway Manager & Community Specialist. She loves tacos, fashion, Doctor Who and wears too much black.
Tell me a little bit about how you started making art.
I’ve been making art since I can remember, ever since I was really little I wanted to be an artist, whether that be filmmaking or animation or painting/drawing/illustration.
I guess I “officially” started making art when I was in high school and my friends urged me to start sharing my notebook doodles on social media and people seemed to enjoy it, so I started focusing all of my time on creating art and haven’t slowed down since.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, for me, it usually comes from personal memories and feelings I wanna share, but when I look for visual inspiration, I often look to advertising. I feel like artists can learn a lot from browsing through ads, since they are created to deliver an idea as briefly and succinctly as possible and I feel like that’s a really important thing to learn for any creative individual trying to make it on social media, you have to catch people’s attention as quickly as you can.
I tend to get ideas very randomly, sometimes I’ll have 10-12 complete, fleshed out ideas in one day and sometimes I can’t think of anything for a full week and it sucks. I have a notebook where I just note ideas down and doodle, so even if I’m stuck with a creative block or something, I can still work and that usually helps me overcome my creative block.
Your work is very bright and active, like a sketch-book "coming to life". How did you
develop your unique style and how is it evolving today?
It honestly just comes from watching lots of cartoons and doodling in my notebooks at school. I always hated being told how to draw and what to draw in art class, I found it really limiting so everything I learned about art, I learned on my own.
I’m always looking to change up my style and try new approaches, I recently started painting with oils and gouache as well as working with augmented reality. I always like to look at art radically different from mine to see if I can get anything out of it.
Your animation is a lot of fun. Who or what inspires your animation? Do you have any key, favorite animators?
I always loved animation since I was a kid. I obviously really dug Disney and Pixar, but I was first inspired to actually get into animation and filmmaking when I received a VHS of Nick Park’s first three Wallace and Gromit shorts from my stepdad when I was around four or five.
There was a behind the scenes documentary at the end of the tape that showed you how they built the sets and the puppets and whatnot, that had a very big impact on me, so basically anything by Aardman or Nick Park is definitely up there for me as the gold standard for stop motion.
As artists, we can trace our introduction to art back to a few or single events; mine was the first time I saw paintings by Frida Kahlo as a child. How were you introduced to art?
There are three events I distinctly remember having a very profound effect on me when I was like eight or ten years old: Seeing a Keith Haring exhibition at Ludwig in Budapest, a Tim Burton retrospective exhibition at MoMA in New York and seeing a mural by Blu on the wall of the Tate Modern in London. The latter in particular I remember very well, looking at Blu’s mural at the Tate, standing next to it for ages and being blown away by the scale and the sheer amount of detail, it was life-changing for me.
My mom would take me to art galleries and museums constantly when I was a kid and I really took to surreal and expressionist art in particular, so I started taking mental notes on the artists whose work I found interesting. Dalí, Basquiat, Kahlo, Picasso and Jacob Lawrence, in particular, all really stuck with me and inspire me to this day.
Can you tell me more about your solo exhibition in Budapest, "Artificial Hearts" and your Augmented Reality project?
Artificial Hearts is my third solo exhibition and it’s my first with augmented reality. It’s also the first where I showcase some non-digital artwork. I recently started messing around with oil paints and gouache, all of my previous exhibitions featured prints of digitally coloured/composited artwork. I didn’t have any experience with paints, I’ve always used markers and pens, but my girlfriend has been painting with oils for years, so she helped out quite a lot in creating the art for this show.
The material is split up into five groups of three illustrations, each having to do with personal struggle and life in an urban environment, in one way or another. It’s opening in Budapest at Brody Studios on October 7th and is on until the 14th.
Augmented Reality is relatively new to people, something we've all been curious about lately. What drew you to developing your art into Augmented Reality? How do you see art evolving with innovations in technology?
I got interested in AR last year, while I was enrolled in Kitchen Budapest’s talent program with my friends, working on some virtual reality projects. It was a really chill environment to create in, I learned a lot while I was there. Other people were working on some AR stuff. I thought it was really interesting and I saw a lot of potential in combining it with my own art.
I’ve always been looking to “bring my artworks to life”, make them move and whatnot, but I could never find a right way to do it and when I stumbled upon augmented reality, I thought it was the perfect way to combine still illustrations with animation. I’ll definitely be using it more in the future after this exhibition wraps, it’s such an exciting new field with so much unexplored territory.
What is your favorite thing to illustrate?
Drawing crowds of people of all shapes, sizes, and colours moseying through their daily lives in cities are hands down my favourite things to illustrate. They take ages to finish, but it’s always really satisfying once they’re done
I like to think of these city drawings as kinda being like big one-page comics, where you get to peek into the lives of the characters and figure out what they’re up to, making up your own stories for them. Sometimes I’ll go back months after I completed them and I’ll discover new stuff I totally forgot about, it’s a lot of fun.
View the artist’s upcoming solo show in Budapest, “Artificial Hearts” featuring recent works and augmented reality, bringing to life collections of thematically linked digital illustrations and paintings with hand-drawn animation and CGI beginning October 7.
You can follow Daniel on Ello, Instagram, and Facebook.