• Main

    Danny Sangra: Poster for Valerie Mallory Gallery show in Tokyo (detail)

Illustration

Danny Sangra's awesome illustrated interviews for new Tokyo show are a thrill

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Like Ed Norton in Fight Club (1999 spoiler alert!) The Valerie Mallory Gallery has two distinct personas. According to its website, it was founded in New York in 1978 by Valerie herself, “critic, mother and muse to many.” Closed after her deportation, it has been rekindled by son Viktor, or so they’d have us believe. Alternatively it’s the brainchild of Danny Sangra, who was keen to create a new kind of space in which to showcase the work of artists he admired. To mark the opening of the VMG show in Tokyo, Danny has put together some awesome illustrated interviews with those taking part. But we thought it was wise to speak to the man himself too for a bit of a lowdown…

  • Chrissie_abbott-interview_6

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Chrissie Abbott

  • Andrew_de_francesco-interview_5

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Andrew de Francesco

Hi Danny! Tell us about the story behind VMG? How did it start?

It started as a place to display the work made by a close circle of travelling friends. It’s since developed into place where artists of various levels are free to try out new work. Sometimes an artist needs to be invisible in order to create something with less judgement against previous work. 

How do you select which artists you work with?

All the artists have at some point seen each other naked or being sick on a street corner. Sometimes both at the same time. Do either and you’re in.

Was the move from online gallery to physical shows planned?

As most of the artists live around the world, having a real space allows us all to get together. Most of us travel together so it’s just another excuse to do something together. 

What are the plans for the future of the VMG?

Keep the space moving. We have had our debut show in Tokyo. Actually we are having it at this very moment. As I type in fact. We will continue to develop and make people wonder what the hell we are really all about. 

  • Anne_margolis-interview_3

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Anne Margolis

  • Jay_griffin_dont_be_a_dick_flat_1200

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Jay Griffin

  • Louise_ingalls_sturges-interview_4

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Louise Ingalls Sturges

  • Veronica_von_nelson-interview_2

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Veronica von Nelson

  • Viktor_mallory-interview_1

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Viktor Mallory

  • Nan-interview_2_1200

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – N.A.N.

  • Danny-sangra-flat-2

    Danny Sangra: Illustrated interviews – Danny Sangra

  • 1_vmg-tokyo-dm-flat2_1200

    Danny Sangra: Poster for Valerie Mallory Gallery show in Tokyo

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. List

    It’s rare that we have cause to feature a single illustration project on the site, but Scott Gelber’s recent work for The New York Times is quite an unusual case. The Texas-based digital artist seriously impressed us this week with his illustration for an editorial that questioned whether or not video games could be considered art. It’s an issue that’s cropping up increasingly online, and one which undoubtedly requires a careful touch to illustrate. Scott’s solution camouflaged various computer game characters within famous paintings – the one that was finally used is, I believe, a character from Assassin’s Creed – compositing sketches of numerous high-profile characters in works like the Mona Lisa, Judith Slaying Holofernes and Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe. Pretty good work fro a guy who usually specialises in GIFs. More of this please Scott.

  2. List

    Tim Laing’s work is quintessentially English; moody and faintly depressing, created with shades of grey that aptly summarise the perpetual state of our weather, food and temperaments. Which is why he’s the perfect choice to illustrate John Le Carré’s back catalogue for the prestigious Folio Society. The images he’s created to accompany classic works of spy fiction like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy are beautifully atmospheric, imbued with the tension of Cold War espionage and an imminent sense of danger. He’s also careful never to show any faces, meaning you’re still allowed to let your imagination run riot, inventing your own terrifying visage for the double agent waiting to put a bullet in you. Thrilling stuff!

  3. List

    There’s a very simple kind of pleasure to be had from illustrator Liam Stevens’ work. The image-maker and designer occupies himself predominantly with line-work and geometric shapes, creating vast landscapes and atmospheric compositions from very little. Collage elements enter into his practice from time to time, but on the whole his sketches function using a simple cross-hatch which gestures vaguely towards a form, or a series of wiggly lines used to demarcate a sprawling horizon. Finding Liam’s work online allows it to function in much the same way a breath of fresh air does in a loud, smoggy city. Breathe deep and enjoy the view.

  4. List

    What do I love most about the work of Irkus M Zeberio? Oh, thanks for asking. I think it’s probably the sheer irreverence present in each piece of ink on paper. The Basque Country-based illustrator has an extraordinary knack for creating bewitchingly chaotic scenes that demonstrate the most base human desires, combined with an energetic, frenetic drawing style that keeps my eyes flicking rapidly across pages of his work. In terms of narrative, Irkus predominantly creates comics and images that maintain the sensibilities of a sci-fi-obsessed teenage boy with a burgeoning porn collection; there’s vicious she-beasts devouring the heads of their lovers, nudism in space, penis sketches hidden in random places and an abundance of curvaceous bottoms – the kind of stuff that would seem trivial if it wasn’t supported by some wickedly funny story lines. How we’ve not featured him before I’ll never know.

  5. Stationary

    Hotel branding can so often be a dowdy affair, as if the design nods to the temporary nature of the building’s inhabitants – something to move on from, rather than to dwell on. So it’s wonderful to see a brave, opulent new identity for the Connaught in London’s Mayfair, designed by The Partners around a stunning new artwork by Kristjana S Williams which now hangs in the hotel.

  6. List

    June 2013: We introduce you to illustrator and recent Berlin resident Jay Wright. We love his work, you enjoy it massively too, and thereafter he takes on a whole heap of freelance work. Fast forward 16 months and Jay’s new portfolio website shows he’s been one heck of a busy guy, not only commercially but personally too. Alongside magazine covers for The Loop and Das Magazine there’s a glut of witty spot illustrations, brand new zines and some lovely personal work that explores the theme of superstition. It’s definitely worth having a proper rummage around on his site, and when you do be sure to have a look at the ladder. You won’t regret it.

  7. List

    Michael Parkin’s portfolio is a wonderful mix of commissioned work interspersed with personal projects, which is exactly what you want when looking through a creative’s website. His style is simple but well observed and whether he’s creating a poster for Little White Lies or a series of prints relating to a trip to Denmark, Michael’s work is wonderful at telling a story.

  8. List

    I love that moment when big brands start to recognise the immense talents of illustrators who had previously been making work primarily for themselves, and duly commission them to do exactly what they do best. Linda Linko is a prime example; since being signed to Agent Pekka the Finnish illustrator has been gathering speed as well as commissions, creating her characteristically bold artwork for a number of huge posters and magazine covers.

  9. List

    Lawrence Zeegen has never been one to mince his words. The illustrator, writer and dean of design at London College of Communication has recently launched his new book Fifty Years Of Illustration which he co-wrote with Grafik editor Caroline Roberts. It’s an impressively ambitious undertaking with the duo condensing five decades into 1,000 images by 240 illustrators from 30 countries. Lawrence admits it’s a “pretty personal selection” but one that aims to “represent the movers and shakers across each decade according to the work I believe was instrumental in shaping the discipline.”

  10. List

    Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

  11. List

    Alright, we admit it – Peter Judson has made a lot of work we’ve been really into this year, and he’s had the props on the site to prove it. But why should we be made to contain ourselves when he keeps producing illustration of this calibre? Why, we ask you?

  12. List

    If, like me, you spent many an hour in your teenage years gazing absentmindedly at Larry Carlson’s experimental website Medijate, you’ll no doubt be similarly transfixed by The Landfill from the very talented Santtu Mustonen. Stitching together a “collection of unused sketches, leftover drawings and rejected ideas from forgotten projects” to a mesmerising soundtrack by Tuomas Alatalo, Santtu created a hypnotic animation that’s a work of art in its own right.

  13. List

    As the man who gave form to the twisted genius of Hunter S. Thompson, British illustrator’s Ralph Steadman’s latest project seems like a perfect fit. Ralph has worked with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to illustrate some limited-edition Blu-Ray covers for a special boxset of the series due out early next year.