This paper-cutting illustrator has a degree in Print and Surface Design from the Leeds College of Arts: ‘it was great,’ says Damien, ‘but I didn’t really follow the conventional route of the course…’
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m from Newcastle but I am currently based in Leeds. All of my work is produced by hand with a scalpel and while it is a slow process craft, I love everything about paper-cutting. I like starting out with a solid piece of paper and cutting away to reveal an image – it really reminds me of when I was a kid. It’s a similar process to the magic colouring books where you scraped with a coin or painted with colours to produce images and colours from something that was originally blank.
What are your inspirations?
My inspirations include outer space, history, dark scary places, hidden places, nature, monsters, prehistoric periods… I very rarely draw from photos or landscapes. I prefer to just draw from my imagination… For example, if I think ‘oh, I want to draw a sea monster’, I just draw what I think one looks like at that particular time.
What’s your favourite piece of work you have produced?
Pretty tricky question when it comes to my favourite piece – they all take so much time that I really like them all! I guess this piece, Through Caves and Caverns (left), is one that stands out to me. I liked drawing all the little tunnels and caves and the creepy things going on inside them.
Again, I dont really have a clear favourite person who inspires me, but I do really admire anyone involved with the No Brow collective. The work there is really imaginative and inspirational.
All images © Damien Barlow. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.