Art and life constantly imitate each other, and both are anything but predictable. Life plans can be meaningless, desires are frequently rewired, and roadblocks often turn into opportunities. All it takes is a good hashtag to change the face of art; think #inktober, #artvsartist, or whatever challenge is trending right now. Dirtyrobot, the illustrator otherwise known in his daily life as Daniel Isles, is both a product of this upheaval but is also a straight line drawn through his past experiences.
An abrupt end to the streetwear brand he owned in the mid-2000s led to him drilling down on visual art as a creative outlet. Although he’d been drawing comics since a super young age, most of Isles’s work at a point revolved around that ill-fated brand, illustrating only for T-shirts and the like. His love for style translated into the newer drawings in its aftermath and his work has grown more expressive since being divorced from commercial projects.
The name brings this all together. “I came up with Dirtyrobot when I was going through a mad time,” he says over Skype, pencil in hand. “My clothing line was finished and I felt like I really hated humans, including myself. I’m a dirty robot, an easily programmed, biological robot.” It’s also an appropriate description of his newfound visual style. His work is populated with cyborgs dripping with gear, all coated with distressed textures.
At first, he drew in relative obscurity. But with the rise of the Gram, Isles found himself participating in the #365project, a challenge for artists to draw one picture a day for a year. The combination of constant output and increased skill that comes with unrelenting practice combined to cultivate a new audience and new outlook.
These are my #2017bestnine all pretty much from my 365 daily drawings. Looking back, I’ve got to say, this has been a challenging and incredible year and a half on a personal artistic level. I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate all the support and kindness. It truly has been a humbling experience and I thank you all very much! Enjoy your holidays and I look forward to producing more and seeing you on the other side peeps! Much love😎🤖🖖🏿 #support #love #holiday #illustration #artwork #drawing #sapporo #japan