Chances are you've never seen a little gray primate with bulging
eyes, skinny legs and an affinity for mallets and machetes on the
Discovery Channel. Unless there's a drop of peyote involved in your
next forest stroll, you won't find one anywhere outside the sharply
surreal artwork of James Marshall, also known by his Dr.
Who-inspired graffiti moniker, Dalek. Between the paintings, city
walls, animated shorts, toy designs and other assorted incarnations
(shower curtains!), Marshall's Space Monkey has become synonymous
with Dalek. Over the last year, however, Marshall has made some
changes that will alter the way his work is viewed.
With more time dedicated to painting, he quickly expanded his palette and began to experiment with new elements and more complicated patterns. This led him to another major change, one that some might find surprising?stepping away from the Space Monkey. Having a beloved, recognizable character is both a blessing and a curse?it provides a ready audience, but will that same audience embrace work that doesn't include it? "It becomes a crutch, what people want to see," says Marshall. "That's all I got when people asked me to design something?'Can we get a monkey for this?' There are only so many fucking Space Monkeys you can put out into the world before people burn out on it. So I just wanted to see where I could go past that, and it really started to work. Some of the breakthroughs I've made with my painting can be applied to toy and product design and animation, and I can start creating a wider foundation."
Jonathan Levine believes the combination of taking more time to develop his paintings
"Sometimes you just have to go with your gut," Marshall concludes. "It's not always the most popular thing, but you've got to do what makes sense to you, and hopefully people will get it and appreciate it."
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