If you haven’t heard of D*Face, your life is incomplete. For over a decade, the British artist has established himself as one of the greatest urban artists of all time, and his work has been shown, collected, and loved around the world. His highly anticipated monograph, The Art of D*Face: One Man & His Dog, is finally here, and it is well worth the wait. StolenSpace Gallery will host a book launch and signing on Nov. 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., complete with original art on display, but before you head there you might want to know a little about the book.
First of all, let me start by saying that this isn’t really a review just as The Art of D*Face: One Man & His Dog isn’t really a monograph. By definition, yes, it is a book that showcases a body of work by one artist, but compared to many other books that fall into this category, this is something completely different. A lot of art books are made to make money. They only contain works from a small window of time or borrow from an artist’s recent exhibitions so that there is enough art to be bound but not so much that the publishers can’t create another one 36 months later. D*Face didn’t take that approach, and he didn’t hold back with this book. This is definitely a project of passion, not profit.
"I'd rather people hate my work than find it nice. Nice implies mediocrity and a lack of tenacity — you don't love it, and you wouldn't care if you lost it. I'd rather upset and annoy; I'd rather be that stone in your shoe." —D*Face
Released by Laurence King Publishing, The Art of D*Face is like a bible of the artist’s long career. 344 pages of hardcover gospel, the book has more content than most artists provide in four volumes. Murals, stickers, skate decks, prints, sculptures, and just about any medium that he could get his hands on are beautifully photographed and shown here. The art is chronological as it should be, not pointlessly organized by arbitrary categories, and it reads like an autobiography of his life as an artist. And by reads, I actually mean reads. It might sound strange but there are words in this book, lots of them. D*Face doesn’t just throw a lot of pretty pictures into a heavy coaster. Just about every image is labeled with the name of the art, its dimensions, materials, and the year it was made, so this really is a massive exhibition in book form.
He also provides commentary and anecdotes on his art, exhibitions, and his life from the day that his parents “found [him] in a cereal packet at some point in the 1970s,” to becoming (according to Banksy) “the sticker king of London,” and through various stages in his career until the creation of this book.
Shepard Fairey writes of D*Face in the foreword for The Art of D*Face (NBD), “Even though his art is mischievous and subversive, D*Face has developed a mastery of techniques that allow him to create his art with precision, and he has the skills to approach many styles and mediums with confidence…Not a lot of people can ‘reach the bourgeoisie and rock the boulevard’ with their art, but D*Face does it with style and humanity.” That pretty much sums it all up. When I said that this wasn’t a review, I meant it. I’ve had this book for weeks now and haven’t begun to fully digest it so I can’t “review” it for anybody. Just shut up and buy it.