Paul Dawes is a versatile artist, graphic designer and photographer whose work is informed by such diverse influences as comic books, films, science fiction, adverts, grafitti, anime and fine artists such as Caravaggio, Ed Ruscha and Egon Schiele. His vibrant use of form and colour gives his work an energetic narrative typical to manga, with his restless bodies and frenetic totems in the midst of an explosive externalised chaos. Much like classic b-movie posters and pulp novels, much of his work focusses on the violence, sexuality and disenfranchisement of urban malaise in hyper-realistic worlds. Dawes’ exploration and appropriation of graphic novel stylistics such as Chris Ware’s meticulous melancholia, classic Batman and the modern, psychologically driven works – Constantine, Y the Last Man and Watchmen – gives his artwork an instant and eye-catching mass appeal. The action in his imagery is driven by and emanates from a central, catalytic figure, with their inner turmoil and societal burdens visualised as a carefully considered and composed supernova of abstract debris.
Dawes imbues his work with a wry tragicomedy; often using himself as an everyman template, his characters are relateable and believable. His recent life-drawing work has seen a maturation in Dawes style achieving new levels of realism in his drawing, which when mixed with accents of his graphic work, easily crosses the boundary into fine art. It’s hard to categorise Dawes’ work as his portfolio covers such a wide range of subjects, but undoubtedly his take on the theme, especially from a disenchanted masculine point of view, will be fascinating and unique.