Dan Hillier - Feather & Claw
A friend of mine in London suggested I Like Dan Hillier’s Facebook page. I had a quick look at his work, these strange half man half beast Victorian looking creatures were right up my alley.
Then per chance I was in London for a few days last March when Dan Hiller happened to be having an exhibition of his latest work called “Feather and Claw” in Wilton’s Music Hall the oldest surviving Grand Music Hall in the world. This was a chance I could not pass. There was going to be free Hendricks Gin so I suggested we get there early as this would surely amplify the queue.
We set on the road wiggling down dark streets to find this mysterious place when we hit this long line of people waiting excitedly in the chilly air. It moved along slowly and people dressed in delightful abstract Victorian costumes skipped straight to the top of the queue and slipped in easily. We got about 6 from the top of the queue when an announcement was made that the venue was too full and only people in full costume could enter. A tall man in a black velvet suit with a dead crow attached to his top hat, whose eyes glowed red, quickly passed us by and slipped in. I went straight to the man at the door saying I had just flown in all the way from Ireland to see this show and intended to make a purchase. So he kindly let us in much to my friends delight. The building was exotic and crumbling with age which suited Dan Hillier’s fantastic large black and white prints in their gold gilt frames. We were blown away with the whole thing. The venue, the crowd in outrageous costumes and the most of all the exquisite art work.
These illustrations of ladies and gentlemen merging with animals and nature are composed through digital collage and a spot of ink, transport us to a surreal exotic old world. The quality and detail in these screen prints is excellent and a lot of purchases were being made on the night. I fell in love with “Valley” a beautiful mask of lady forming the base of a rocky valley with a river flowing down her neck. It’s a typical portrait of head and shoulders but there is nothing typical about this lady as she has a mountain range growing out of her head like a large flamboyant hat. I grow to love this piece the more I look at it. Dan Hillier’s work in limited editions is now available to purchase online from his brand new website. Otherwise if you’re in London he has a stall at The Sunday Upmarket where you can meet the man himself and see his work in the flesh and discuss his techniques or maybe commission your own piece of work. He is a very approachable fellow.