“As you can see I work in my garage.. Which I enjoy.. But its full of all sorts of stuff.. As clean and precise as the work is..my space is nothing less than fully chaotic..”
James Marshall commonly known as the artist Dalek-made his mark in the art world with his iconic Space Monkey character, which looks like a catatonic, twisted mouse. “The Space Monkey is my concept of a human being,” he says. “It’s a tool for relaying and exploring ideas.”
Marshall grew up in a military family and his childhood was punctuated by drastic moves every couple of years. He lived up and down the East Coast, and ended his high school years in Japan. He turned to the subcultures of punk rock, skateboarding and graffiti for inclusion and identity.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Virgina Commonwealth University in 1992, and received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, in 1995. That same year, he developed his well-known Space Monkey character. Taking up the name “Dalek,” Marshall merged street art, cartoons, Japanese pop and the energy of the urban punk scene. In 2001, he reached a major turning point in his studio practice while working as an assistant/apprentice to the world-renowned artist Takashi Murakami. Marshall’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across North America, Europe and Japan.
JAMES MARSHALL: I’m not quite sure how living in Japan influenced me. There are underlying aesthetic qualities to my work and life that pay homage to that… But it could have been an internal preference that was flushed out or accentuated by my time there. Probably what drew me to Murakami’s work as well.
Japan is organized chaos.. Which is about how my mind works.. And how my life is..it’s a direct contradiction to itself at all points.. 2 opposing forces living in harmony.. Or semi-harmony..
It’s the external being internalized , re-contextualized and re-externalized ..it’s a filtration system
JM: I’m always tapping into everything.. Without really tapping into anything.. I try to leave the floodgates open and just let things happen… I think pre-determination with anything takes the truth out of it.. The minute an idea is rethought or retooled its not real.. It becomes infected .. I think there is a moment when something is flowing and pure. Free of any intention, ideals or agendas. It’s the external being internalized , re-contextualized and re-externalized ..it’s a filtration system.. I’m sure the sociology and anthropology are a huge part of the work.. As it’s the kind of lens I view the world through.. But I couldn’t tell you how or why.. That wouldn’t be any fun if I did anyhow..
JM: Space monkeys were just a manifestation of earlier filters.. It became a little too overstated.. Too obvious.. It was an easy way to relay ideas because it was the only way I was capable of relaying them.. As I learned more and was able to express things in other ways.. I adapted and pushed into other visual languages.. I don’t really need an alter ego.. .. Moving on is part of growth ..and growth is the entire purpose of life .. So ..god willing.. I’ll always be moving on...
FYD: In New York City; there’s an exhibit with 103 Graffiti artists called Underbelly Project; (check the video here). Will graffiti stand the test of time or must we go underground and hide from the anti-graffiti squat team?
JM: Graffiti like everything will continue to exist and grow and change according to the climate around it.. Adaptability is a strong suit of graffiti and those who do it.. .. There are no shortage of examples of the world changing and those changing within it.. Its part of evolution and survival..graffiti has existed since the dawn of humanity.. It will most likely outlive us as well.
JM: It’s a 1966 Pontiac Catalina… It’s all original.. Had it about 3 years.. Found it Ohio through some friends.. Has about 77,800 original miles. Has a 389 in it.
Although Kate doesn’t own a 66″ Pontiac Catalina, she owns a
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