Today on the Telegram, Glory Days editor Natasha Francois catches up again with Dale Sizer who featured in our latest issue, Exotica, to find out more about his inspirations, techniques and his passion for putting a modern twist on the past.
If you've read the latest exotica issue of Glory Days, you're bound to be familiar with Dale Sizer's ingenious West Hollywood bachelor pad which pays homage to the tiki-themed cocktail bars and motels of yesteryear. As we mentioned in our story, Dale is also a talented animation artist by trade who paints backdrops for the television series COSMOS, as well as cartoons such as Felix the Cat and Yogi Bear, to name a few. However, he is best known for his low-brow art. Inspired by a retro and 1950s aesthetic, he creates mash ups of Polynesian Pop, pulp romance, sexy vamps, The Rat Pack, lounge culture and cheeky pinups.
Your art has been described as 'cartoon noir' would you agree with that moniker?
Hearing my art described as a certain genre, is always surprising to me, as, I'm just doing what intrigues me and keeps me interested and inspired. I suppose 'Cartoon Noir' fits some of it. Maybe, 'Pinup, Pulp and Pop' could work too.
How did you catch the drawing bug?
I had a knack for drawing from a young age, which was encouraged by my parents. My Dad was very artistic and I enjoyed watching him draw and paint in his spare time.
Pop culture figures feature strongly in your work- from classic Hollywood bombshells to the rat pack, to cult heroines such as Tura Satana, why is that?
I like the idealized versions of people portrayed in movies, magazines and advertising, especially in the 1940's and 50's. Very dramatic, beautiful and specific. Tura Satana popped up when I was invited to participate in an art show celebrating the movies of Russ Meyer.
What are your tools of the trade?
I do my sketches on tracing paper, working small to get a composition I like and then enlarging, refining and cleaning it up into a crisp drawing, that I can cut masks from. I then lay in the large shapes with paint and airbrush, on canvas, art board or metal flake vinyl. Paint brushes and sponging can also come into it. Photoshop can come in handy at the compositional stages.
What inspires you most and why?
I love.... The shadowy atmosphere and dramatic lighting in the film noir period of movies- The sexy attitude projected in a vintage Hollywood starlet's publicity photos- The naive optimism in post war advertising- The sexy gag cartoons of Dan DeCarlo. Mix it all together and come up with something cool, sexy and fun!
Current projects you're working on?
Things are a bit sketchy at the moment. A number of Vintage Hollywood subjects are in the works.
Which artists do you admire?
There are so many...early on, it was the pinup art of George Petty and Vargas. Later, the 'air powered' illustrators of the 60's and 70's. Nowadays, there are so many talented painters- Mark Ryden and Todd Schorr are amazing!
I love your movie star portraits of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford so much- how do you pick your subjects?
Thank you. I'm a big fan of vintage movies, and sometimes try to capture a dramatic moment from one. Usually focusing on a scene of emotional climax, just as the tears are welling up in their eyes.
Your work also delves in the big eye children craze of the 1960s. In fact your mandolin playing lady Miranda has a strong resemblance to a Maio print i have on my wall (or is it medeiros?)
The big eye style is intriguing, because it allows you to get up close and personal with your subject and get an intimate view into their feelings. It creates an emotional impact.
What do you love most about what you do? Where can our readers go to see more of your work?
I like to create something that looks familiar but at the same time is new and innovative. Incorporating elements of the past with a modern twist.
People can contact me about commissions or prints of my work, on my website. I also post views of my latest work on Facebook, and currently have prints and merchandise available at Redbubble.