Illustrator Dale Bigeni works his artistic magic in mysterious ways

Illustrator Dale Bigeni works his artistic magic in mysterious ways

CultureFebruary 04, 2020

Approaching art is like a box of chocolates. You can choose to open it gently with a decision already made on which piece to carefully pluck from the wrapping. Or you can rip it open, guns blazing, while devouring just a single bite out of each morsel until you’re sick and slightly bloated. For graphic designer and illustrator Dale Bigeni, his approach is the wild one — thick, dark assuming lines with eye-popping subject matter fit for expression. Eat up sucker!

He says he digs the bold tattoo style he’s become so good at because of its lasting history in the world. Yet despite the often grim subject matter he’s pulled to, the guy is still frightened to death of what happens in the afterlife. How’s that for an interview?

Online persona: Art by Dale
Instagram followers: 30.5k
Pizza Hut or Dominos? Pizza Hut without a doubt!
Favorite guilty pleasure movie? Willow [laughs]

Favorite color(s)?
Greyscale tones most of the time and heavy blacks. However, if I have a go to colour it’s always a pop of red.

Pencil or pixel?
Oh everything always starts with a rough pencil idea, but these days I’m very focused on digital art.

Favorite place to sketch out new ideas?
Probably in my studio, when I’m out there’s too many distractions. So I do most of my thinking and sketching in my little quiet place.

How does working digitally differ from working in the real world on walls and things?
I think the most obvious difference would be the ease and speed in which I can work digitally. When I’m painting murals it really is a process and I like to try to perfect my painting to that of a digital sketch — so I probably spend heaps more time than really necessary. [laughs]

How many skulls do you think you’ve created in your lifetime? 
Easily in the hundreds of thousands. I’m not even messing around. This includes throwaways and little two-second page fillers while I’m on the phone. Not quite done yet!

What are your feelings/theories about death and the afterlife?
Truth be told, for a guy who draws a lot of death inspired art or dark genre art, I actually am scared out of my mind to not exist. I believe there is some sort of an afterlife, but I won’t let myself think about it too much because it honestly scares the shit out of me!

Do you remember what your first drawing was as a kid you were genuinely proud of?
I remember drawing a pic of Timmy, from PITT (an old ‘90s IMAGE comic by Dale Keown ) and I really felt like that was me deciding that I’m going to pursue the detailed darker side of illustration. I still look at it and feel proud of myself. [laughs] Mind you I was copying someone else’s art!

Did/do your parents hang your art on the fridge?
I don’t remember them ever really putting ‘em on the fridge, however they have this huge chest of ‘memories’ in their house and it has all the art from when I was young to all the printed stuff I do for commercial and private brands. Really cool actually!

Favorite tool when it comes to art?
Wacom Cintiq. Hands down, it’s my baby!

The tattoo style you’re known for has a long history, do you think it’ll ever go out of style?
I like to think that most of the art I create will stand the test of time. I mean tattooing as a whole is an art form that has been around for years and it’s always held its own! I understand it’s not for everyone but the subjects in tattoo art are long lasting. Cool if you ask me.

If you could paint any building in the world which one would it be, what artwork would you do on it and why? 
Oh man that’s tough. Let’s go with my high school building, with the classic Art by Dale skulls and roses and all the other shit my art teacher used to hate. Mostly to prove if you stick to your guns, you can be successful no matter what the art form is as long as you believe in what you do.

Velociraptor as a pet, if it was legal and possible would you do it?
Have you watched Jurassic Park?? I don’t think I’m game! I’ll stick to the dog!

Dream client?
I’ve been blessed enough to work with several dream clients. However I love cars and would love to do work with some hyper car brand … and be paid with a vehicle. [laughs]

Favorite tune at the moment?
Anything from the THY ART IS MURDER boys!

Dreams and aspirations?
My main dreams and aspirations are to continue to do what I love, be respected for what I do and also to just be able to do it for as long as I can.

Who do you look up to?
My dad, above anyone else. He taught me the skills I know today. He is also just the coolest person anyone will ever meet. Humble, talented and an all round legend!

Shameless plug(s):
I’m working on a side project that will bring prints and merch in 2020! Stay tuned for more details!

Site: DaleBigeni.com
Instagram: @artbydale

[all images provided by Dale Bigeni — hey, thanks!]