Illustrator Reuben Dangoor's fast witted interpretation of the British
Reuben Dangoor is a name to be taken note of, with an observational perspective and a keen mind that matches even the most established political cartoonist. The London-based illustrator is known for both his music-related collaboration and eye-catching visual commentary on social injustices such as the fire in Grenfell Tower and the migrant crisis.
Dangoor was born and raised in Hackney, east London. He was exposed to creativity from a young age. His home was always full of photos his father took, as well as prints and paintings by his mother.
Legends of the Scene, 2015
"I've always drawn, my people still have drawings from my childhood," says the illustrator. “I used to get the Beano, which was divided into several short stories, and each one was drawn in a different style. I tried to copy them for hours. I think it also helped me understand that people made a living. I remember that back then I wanted to be a cartoonist. "
Music was a great inspiration for Dangoor: he first caught people's attention with his 2015 series of paintings, Legends of the Scene, in which dirty artists like Skepta and Stormzy were reinterpreted as nobility of the 18th century. The pictures were so well received that he was asked to display them as part of Tate Modern's Tate Lates series.
"It's still a crazy thing," Dangoor reflects on the project. "The biggest thing was to see all the younger kids come and see the work. Many of them have never been to the Tate and didn't think it had much to offer them. Bringing a new audience into a space like this has Opened my eyes, and this experience has definitely shaped all of my work since then. "
Exercise is another huge influence for Dangoor. As a dedicated Arsenal fan, you can regularly see the illustrator's visual reflections on the football club's progress on his Instagram. His heartwarming illustrations of the English squad during the 2018 World Cup (including a nod to the infamous Gareth Southgate vest) managed to capture the mood of the nation and challenge the negative perceptions that often surround the sport.
There is a common thread that runs through much of Dangoor's work, focusing primarily on identity and Britishity. "The British identity is so complex and strange," he says. “It's made up of so many contradicting and opposing elements and subcultures, all of which are equally British. It's also constantly changing, so it's a constant source of inspiration. I enjoy the challenge of articulating the madness of everything. "
Dangoor's work provides a thought-provoking commentary on the world around him and works well with the world of Instagram, where he can get his point across in a reasonably reactive manner.
"I'm not that good at words and I feel able to visually articulate my feelings and opinions on a subject much more effectively. It's also a great tool for connecting with other artists. I have so much there Found amazing work (the kind I would have liked!) And it really drives me to try new things, ”he says.
More recently, Dangoor has also expanded its scope of duties. He has started experimenting with animation on his Instagram account and worked with adidas on a colorful design for the new Predator soccer cleat earlier this year.
"The more reactive work was done in a couple of hours, and I still do that from time to time, but I'm just a little bit more selective about what I put out," says Dangoor. "I spend a lot more time on pieces, so the new work is much more detailed."