“ My childhood was unpredictable at times & I’ve realised art has been the most consistent thing throughout my life "

We headed to Artist Dale Grimshaw's home and studio where he was working on his next masterpiece. Dale draws a lot of inspiration from the people of West Papua and there plight towards freedom. We here at The Hobo Journal are blown away by the beautiful detail and emotions behind each and every portrait. 

So firstly who is Dale Grimshaw? where did you grow up and what drew you to the world of Art?    

Dale Grimshaw was born Dale Wallace, in Accrington Lancashire. I was born with 3 thumbs & was brought up by my mother. I began fiddling and making things with found objects from when I was very young. Me my sisters would always make things like go-carts & kites - we had to be resourceful as money was very short! Later on I became more interested in drawing, then painting. I was fascinated by history, particularly military & ceremonial attire, so I drew a lot of subjects related to that. I used to love the art on punk record covers in the early 80’s too – there was some exciting visual aspects to punk, along with the music. My childhood was unpredictable at times & I’ve realised art has been the most consistent thing throughout my life. As a teenager, when I was in care in Blackburn, the art teacher there really encouraged me to pursue this creative avenue.

If we're right your art is hugely based around the people of West Papua? Why do you have such a strong connection?   

Like I said I was fascinated by different cultural attire & loved Native American imagery as a child. I had been painting stuff related to the Melanesian people for a while & then became aware of the brutal Indonesian occupation of West Papua. I was horrified at the murder & atrocities that go on there. I decided I would use my platform to talk about that issue & try & raise awareness through my artwork. There’s still very little publicity given to the destruction of the land & indigenous people there. Companies like BP extract natural gas there & turn a blind eye to the horror, in order to profit. I hate bullying on any level.

You use Oil and Acrylic on Canvas but also spray paint on outdoor Murals what would you say is your preferred medium and why? 

I guess my first love was oil paint. It’s not the most practical medium & it does have it’s limitation, unlike acrylic paint. I just love the feel of using oil paint - I’m a very tactile/manual person when it comes to creativity, so this is important to me. Spray paint is more of a practicality – you can create a lot of blended, large scale detail at a fast pace. But I still really enjoy paint so don’t mind if it comes out of a tube or a spraycan – I’m greedy! I like to apply paint in different ways, spray, flick it, pour it or brush it on - it’s about having fun!

What would you say is integral to the work of an artist?   

For me it’s the passion & work ethic. Painting chose me I feel, not the other way round. Painting has been such an integral part of me & who I am – it’s be a lifeline so many times through my troubled periods. It’s been a coping mechanism too. Even if I won 80 million, I would still want to paint consistently & feel a passion towards my work & subject matter. Seeing young artists posing half naked & pouting next to their half-hearted work on social media just leaves me cold – I can’t relate to that approach.

Are there any dislikes you have about the art world? 

The whole concept of art being a commodity is depressing. Buying art is like a random betting system to a lot of collectors. That scattergun approach – they just wait & see what triples in value. I can’t even think allow myself to think about this as it make me loose faith in what I do. It’s about keeping positive & remembering what art means to me & not to the art world. People want art but they don’t want to pay for it, or accept that artists need to make money to survive.

What would be your dream project?    

Although my work is quite traditional in it’s approach I really like projects that cross boundaries & can be multi-disciplinary. A project that involves a great cause or idea, mixed in with music or something else. Maybe a project that was a big mural that was time lapsed & was used in conjuncture with one of my favourite performers for a video. I’ve recently been producing a painting for a BBC1 arts programme, where an artist is teamed up with an ordinary person that did something special or commendable – I love the idea of us having to get to know each other, see what life is like on both sides, then produce a portrait, That's been really fun.

Here at The Hobo Journal our passion is Travel hence the name, Where is your favourite place on earth and why?   

For me a lot places I’ve painted murals in have been special due to the people I’ve been working with – where a good connection has been made. I’ve painted in some beautiful places but odd times I’ve not really felt a connection with the people organising the projects. The destinations I’ve been on holiday with my partner have special memories, like Greece or Turkey – a combination of the company & place.

More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer  


1 comment

  • Heather Jopson

    Remember me and Ian – just wondering how you are- very long time no see. What a fabulous gift you have.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.