I caught up with Dave Gee the artist behind Dave Draws on a cold but bright Wednesday morning via everyone’s favourite lockdown tool, Zoom. Blackpool Social Club came across the artist after being tagged by a fellow creative online. His illustrative maps incorporate places like the Northern Quarter, York, Brighton and New York. Through lockdown, popular demand on social media dictated that Blackpool was where he should draw next.
Nothing thrills me more than to find creativity and art with a connection to place and people, Dave is an unassuming character living in Manchester as a freelance artist. His background found him travelling to Berlin working in art galleries, drawing regularly, and exhibiting in DIY galleries when someone noted his work looked like the top of buildings. The comment sparked an idea of sketching maps of places.
After drawing Manchester and selling his prints online he found his work selling out and began to draw other places he knew: Leeds, York, Sheffield and getting asked to do more places as well as being commissioned for companies such as M&S in Manchester, Granada Studios, Lancashire Tea and internationally in New York, Paris, Dusseldorf and then to Blackpool.
Dave said: “it’s exciting to go international but as long as I am drawing I do not mind where I am. In the original lockdown, I had a vote on social media of where I should draw and Blackpool won, I was excited to do Blackpool as it is such a unique place in terms of landmarks. I wanted it to be of Blackpool but not just the coastline, the piers and the tower and because of local people contributing I was able to add more complex notable places.”
Dave Draws hadn’t always worked like this but through 2020 Dave asked people to contribute to the maps, taking to social media for suggestions to promote a sense of ownership. The more people can get involved Dave described the better the content as the suggestions become more varied including points of interest such as Bootleg Social, he describes the sharing and social aspect of the maps as key. His previous work saw him researching independently but his awareness that you can miss some things when you do it yourself encouraged him to ask social media. Blackpool is sort of known for the promenade but his maps aim to explore places in a much deeper way, he explained he didn’t manage to get everything on trying to signpost around the edge of the map for further notable Blackpool hotspots. Dave stated he could have gone much bigger, because of all the interesting things on The Fylde Coast, making him want to visit Blackpool again.
Social media feeds Dave’s work, he explained it’s like a constant advert as most people have it, especially with The Blackpool map. When Gee began he started to tag as many Blackpool businesses as possible such as Blackpool Tower and tourism and gaining more and more suggestions to add to The Blackpool map. Finding there is a lot to celebrate in Blackpool, such as Blackpool’s award-winning Stanley Park which was recommended to him on Twitter. ” I had never heard of it before – people might just think of Blackpool as stag dos but there is so much more to Blackpool.
Find out more about Dave Draws and order an amazing creation here
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