Born 1965, in Salford, Manchester, Darran Slater has his roots in music. In his younger years, Slater’s interest was, for the most part, fixated on playing guitar, and he used music as his major creative channel. It was whilst studying web design at college that Slater’s musical roots cultivated an artistic penchant. It is now, from the humble dwellings of his studio ‘retreat’ at the bottom of his garden that Slater conceives and creates one of the finest collections of figurative, erotica painting that LondonArt exhibits.
Defining erotic art is complex since perceptions of both what is erotic and what is art fluctuate. Needless to say, a distinction should be made between erotic art and pornography. The distinction lies in intent and meaning. Erotic art is intended as pieces of art, encapsulating formal elements of art, and drawing on art-historical predecessors. Pornography though it possibly will use these tools, is nonetheless principally intended to arouse the viewer sexually. Slater’s erotica paintings are skillfully composed; smooth, velvety curves and rich gradations of form and colour describe uninhibited scenes. In contrast, Slater’s explicit titles [April The Lap Dancer, Passion!, The Lover's], perhaps a little unrefined [On All Fours, Easy Girl!, So Spank Me!] would be more apt captions for the soft-pornography of lad’s mags Nuts and Zoo Magazine.
Like the ‘Pope of Pop’ Andy Warhol, Slater is an avid watcher of people and popular subjects and celebrities are part of his artist’s palette. Unlike Warhol, who aimed to remove all traces of the artist's ‘hand’ in the production of his painting, Slater’s medium of choice is currently acrylics, favoured for the textured finish that resembles that which is achievable with oils. Where Warhol, at the height of his fame had several assistants who produced his silk-screen multiples, Slater labors unaided for anything up to 16 hours to complete a painting in one sitting! “Thankfully my love of music and a vast selection of CDs help keep me going all day. That and lots of strong, black coffee!”
Amidst what appears to be a boom in the market for cheap, ‘pop art’ printed canvases, Darran Slater is proud to be different. Though his paintings of celebrities and iconic figures will always emphasize the kitschy element of our culture, the selection of original, erotica art exhibited by LondonArt has a more sophisticated appeal. Slater maintains, “For me it’s about making a statement… Hopefully my work makes an instant visual statement, but leaves a lasting impression.”
To view Darran Slater’s work, general exhibition pages and to look at his biography please click here