Interview with *Kaduflyer

17 min read

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Lintu47's avatar

David is a Designer/Illustrator – Sculptor – Special Makeup Effects artist. His resume is impressive and diverse: he worked on Clash of the Titans (Senior Sculptor – Creature design), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Sculptor and painter props), Dr Who Series 6 (Sculptor – Creature design – Make up application), Nintendo (Trainee – Puppeteer) and many, many other amazing films and projects. WOW! He's a well refined artist and as popular as he is, he is still a kind and modest person. Let's find more about him and his amazing work from the interview below! 

First, please introduce yourself to those that might not know you yet.
My name is Dave Bonneywell, I’m from England and for the past 20 years I have worked as a professional special make up effects artist for film and TV. 

COTT -  Djnn maquette by Kaduflyer

You are a very successful artist, what do you believe are your most important features that made you pop out of the crowd?

You know what? I seriously don’t know the answer to this one.
My approach to my make up effects work and my approach to my own personal work are exact opposites and both seem to be pretty popular with people.
With make up effects work I listen to the client. I take into account what they want, what they like, what they need and what they can afford and then give them the very best I can, and that seems to have worked just fine for the past 20 years. With my personal work I listen to no one, the world can go hang because I’m doing these things my way and I don’t give a stuff if people like them or not;; and that ALSO seems to work quite well! So go figure!
Maybe it’s best NOT to know what works. Maybe if I figured it out it would jinx it and I’d end up starving through lack of work. Maybe I should just be thankful that things as they are and not try to analyze it too much :)

Lil-Divil Sculpt by Kaduflyer

What do you want to express through your artworks? What inspires you?

I’m assuming this question is about my personal work and not my effects work, so if you’re asking "what am I trying to say in my personal art" then the answer is... nothing. I hold no spiritual or political beliefs and even if I did I’m way too much of a liberal, "live and let live" kinda guy to ever try and foist my beliefs on other people. I’m an entertainer and a storyteller and that’s it.

Universe 3000 - Destiny by Kaduflyer

As for what inspires me? Well that’s actually quite specific. When I was a kid I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs books, his John Carter of Mars series and other similar works of romantic fantasy fiction. Now in these types of books whenever the hero stumbles upon a damsel in distress or frees a wrongly imprisoned guy they always turned out to be a dispossessed king or abducted princess, never a baker or serving wench and that really bugged me. I wasn’t interested in kings and princesses, maybe because I didn’t actually know any, so my stories are for and are about all the wronged bakers and serving wenches in the universes... the ordinary folk who always get overlooked. Of course sometimes those ordinary folk also happen to be faeries or monsters, but I can assure you NONE of them are princesses!

Horrible Herman by Kaduflyer

In your opinion, the quality of your art depends more on technique or on its message?

I think it depends on both. A good, polished technique, a slick, well presented piece of art can draw someone to it, but they stay with it or come back to it again and again because beneath the polished exterior is something a bit extra, something that speaks to them or inspires them or transports them.
It’s like being a beautiful person. Having a great face and body may initially attract someone, but if there’s no personality behind the pretty façade then few people are tempted to stay.

Brain Squid by Kaduflyer

Your works are remarkable - do you believe that what you do requires a particular skill or it's just about the practice? What skills do you consider to be the most important?

I believe art is a skill that REQUIRES practice. I believe it is a skill you learn rather than a talent you are born with. I know many people are outraged by this idea and think that art is some special "gift" bestowed upon the chosen few. But we happily accept that someone can learn to be brain surgeon, astrophysicist or master craftsman - which all require combinations of manual dexterity and great imagination which, coincidentally are the very skills required to be an artist. In actual fact it is easier to be an artist than one of those other professions as there is no minimum level of competence required from the artist. If an artist has great technique he is a super realist and praised for his extraordinary skills. If an artist lacks technique and polish he is a "primitive" and praised for his vision. We can’t lose, we’ve got it easy!

Bullet through the head. by Kaduflyer

Most of the artists wish for their own style. How would you describe yours, and how did you develop it?

To be honest I very often worry that I DON’T have a recognizable style. To survive in the film industry you have to be adaptable, you have to be able to provide suitable work for all markets, all genres and all age groups. Having a distinct and recognizable style in this type of market is actually a disadvantage as it limits your employability. 

Web Weaver by Kaduflyer

I can give you a perfect example of this from just this week. At the moment I am working on a children’s TV show, designing and sculpting cartoonish, fantasy characters. As I was sculpting one particularly cute creation I was approached about another project that involved recreating the ritual killing and dismemberment of a six year old girl... pleasant huh? If I ONLY did cute furballs I wouldn’t get offered the realistic stuff and if I only did the realistic blood and gore then I wouldn’t get to do the cutesy characters. The downside of all this chameleon-like artistic behavior is that if I ever did have an artistic voice, style or message I rather fear I may have lost it in my quest to adapt to the commercial markets I work in.


Universe 3000- Drone Massacre by Kaduflyer

What are your favorite tools and how were you introduced to them? Did you experiment or someone recommended them to you?

I’ve said this many times privately and publicly on DA, all the materials, techniques and tools that I use I’ve picked up because basically I’m a lazy storyteller. As a kid I excelled at English, at writing stories, and that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up, a writer. But as I got older I realized writing was a lot of hard work, you have to research stuff and get your facts right, you had to watch your punctuation and grammar (this was long before computers and spell check!) so I decided it would be easier to draw my ideas. Drawing and painting then became my "thing" and I decided on a career in art. I didn’t do well in art college (I was a very argumentative, angry young man back then) and got kicked out after a year. Around this time I also came to the conclusion that painting was pretty hard work, you had to get all that perspective right and the composition and the lighting... so much to think about! So I figured sculpting would cut out most of that stuff and as a bonus you don’t have to do the background either! So I started sculpting!

Reek by Kaduflyer

Later, when I was working as a make up effects artist, I was introduced to PhotoShop. Although dubious at first, I eventually learned to love it. It was the ultimate lazy man's art tool: no set up time, no messy paints on the table and floor and I never once inadvertently washed my brush out in my coffee... perfect!
I’ve now just started using Z-Brush for my design work... once again because it’s easier to just build a little figure in the computer and pose it than get a model to pose for you! In fact Z-Brush might actually be THE ultimate lazy artist’s tool as I can design, sculpt, pose and paint anything I want and never leave my chair!

Goofy Alien by Kaduflyer

What role has DeviantART in your artistic life? Do you use it solely to expose your art or you also make friends and learn? Why did you join?

I originally posted my work on another art site which I believe no longer exists. However, I became increasingly unhappy with some of it’s attitudes towards and advice given to less experienced artists. It encouraged a competitiveness that led to a blinkered, elitist attitude that I was extremely uncomfortable with, so I left and joined dA.
Now the other site had always scoffed at dA for allowing anybody to post work, regardless of his or her skill level, but that’s one of the things I love about this place! Anyone can join in, from the absolute best in their fields to people with no skills of their own but who just love art, and everyone in between. You can choose to simply look at the brilliant work on show or you can join in groups, clubs or forums. And most importantly you can share your thoughts and work with people right across the world.

FaerieNuff by Kaduflyer

For someone like me that last point is the most amazing thing of all and something that’s so easy to forget. Before the Internet, if you were an artist, the only way to get your work seen by anyone other than your friends and family was to either become a successful artist or to join some amateur painting group and maybe get your work shown at the village hall or library. Nowadays you can stick it on the Internet and people see it from New York to Calcutta, from Lisbon to Moscow... and when you really think about that and I mean REALLY think about it, it’s amazingly brilliant!!

Personally for me DA is mostly a place to show my personal work, otherwise no one would ever see it and what’s the point of that? It also gives me access to millions of other artworks for inspiration and enjoyment. I sometimes just pick an artist at random, look into their favorites, pick something that appeals to me and check out THAT artist, then choose one of their favorites and so on and so on. I’ve found myself in some very unexpected places doing that and found some brilliant, but very unexpected artworks. 

Howie 2 by Kaduflyer

Regarding your own art, what do you think has been your greatest achievement so far?

Haha... I really don’t think that’s for me to say. In terms of individual pieces I sincerely hope I haven’t achieved my best yet, that would be very disappointing.
I suppose, broadly speaking, my greatest achievement so far has been to be able to earn my living for so long in an industry notoriously difficult to survive in!

Franky by Kaduflyer

Do you have favorite artists on deviantART? Could you show us some art that you like and/or inspire you?

I have loads of favorite artists, but you’ll have to go to my home page to find them since if I mention some here, the ones I DON’T mention will be upset!

Wizards Vs. Aliens The Nekross King by Kaduflyer

How do you choose your models? Are you inspired by something in particular or it all comes from your imagination?

I’m pretty sure most artists give the same answer to this question and that is that inspiration comes from everywhere: From music, books, movies, other artists, or just from life itself. Maybe you should start asking what DOESN’T inspire people!

Dr Who - The Silent by Kaduflyer

Is there anything else you would like to add? A few words for your audience and/or other artists, maybe?

Hmmmm? Well for my audience I would like to say: “Thank you”. Thank you for watching, supporting and encouraging me over the years. Thanks for the kind words and constructive criticisms. And mostly, thank you for just telling me that you enjoy what I do.

And for novice artists? Just be yourselves and be true to your own visions, your own ideas and ideals, as an artist that’s the best you can do... oh yeah!... and work hard, of course!

T-4-2 by Kaduflyer

Thank you, David! :heart:

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abcartattack's avatar
A well done interview with great responses by the artist. Nice work :thumbsup: