Ten Questions 034 – David Foldvari

May 1st, 2013 by Mat Dolphin

David Foldvari is a London-based illustrator. His dark, distinctive (and often very funny) style will be recognisable to many from featuring weekly in the Guardian and Observer. His illustrations have been
regularly featured alongside articles by columnists such as Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell and Stewart Lee.
Alongside his editorial work, David spent a large portion of last year working on the ‘Dickens Dark London’ series for the Museum of London and is now in the midst of illustrated book about the life of Picasso, a project for Laurence King.

He was kind enough to take some time out of his day to contribute his answers to our Ten Questions.


1. How do you describe what you do?

I try my best to keep out of trouble.

2. What made you want to do what you do?

This, music and skateboarding are more or less all I ever wanted to do, I just happen to be a bit better at this than the other two things.

3. How would you describe your workplace?

I have a studio at home now, it’s in a state of permanent chaos, but that’s the nature of creative environments. The mess used to annoy me, but I’ve got used to it, I no longer see the point in fighting it. I’ve seen tidy studios, they’re usually inhabited by people who don’t have that much work to do. I do music here as well so there’s all that stuff in here too, it’s very chaotic. Even people who work within a fully digital environment tend to have messy studios, they’re full of reference stuff, books, notes, films, whatever they need to get their stuff done. Whenever I tidy my studio, it just naturally resets itself to its’ usual state in a matter of minutes, things I use regularly just gravitate all around me in a big circle.

4. What is your favourite colour?

I don’t have one, colour is relative.

5. Who is your favourite artist or writer?

Kurt Vonnegut. I wish he was still alive.

6. What was your previous job?

Back in the late-ish 90′s in Brighton, after graduating I briefly worked as a Sheltered Housing warden. Sheltered Housing is similar an old people’s home, but run by the council and usually populated by very old people from impoverished backgrounds, often with some form of mental illness or disability. Although it was never really discussed openly, my main task as a warden was to call round each flat to check if anyone had died during the night. I was only there for about 8 months and I never found anyone dead. I actually have fond memories of that job, I met many interesting people there. I then went off to study at the Royal College of Art, where I didn’t meet that many interesting people.

7. Do you work within a team? If so, how many people do you work with?

It’s just me. I’m with Big Active, they’re as close as I get to a team, but we’re all obviously working on different things.

8. Do you listen to music whilst working? If so, what do you listen to?

Right now: the new Kurt Vile album, the new Ghostface album, anything involving Mike Watt, and then there’s a lot of stuff I listen to from the 70′s, the Crusaders, Marvin Gaye, I love all that. I also play bass, that takes up any spare time I get.

9. Who inspires you to do what you’re doing?

Anyone who is obsessively into stuff and determined to do what they love to do.

10. Which advice has helped you the most?

Whenever I’ve been given advice, I’ve ended up doing the exact opposite, I’m not very smart. I’m working on a book about the life of Picasso at the moment so I’m reading a lot about him, and he once said ‘inspiration exists, but it has to find you working’. That’s a great piece of advice, I tell my students that sometimes. People expect to sit down with a pen for an hour, and be magically inspired, it doesn’t work that way. Inspiration comes from weeks and months of working and fighting with ideas and trying to figure things out. But that’s the beauty of it.

As ever, huge thanks to David for taking the time to get involved. You can see more of his work here and here.

We love David’s work and hope you guys enjoy it as much as we do.

Thanks for reading.

Phil & Tom


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