We at Hip Hop Humanism were lucky enough to get a chance to have a great interview with the talented Dan Lish. Here it is for your reading pleasure.
HHH: Tell us a little about yourself.
Dan: I recall drawing whales and tiny divers on pencil and paper around the age of four years old, then progressed onto dinosaurs soon after. My parents encouraged me to draw, especially my Dad. He would get lots of paper from his work and buy my pens at a later age. From about 8 or 9 he’d buy me the Rotring pens that were mainly for Map making. You had the hold the pen 90 degrees upright to let the ink flow, so it tightened me up too much. I later got into old fashioned dip pens, that got me a lot looser in my penmanship.
HHH: When did you fall in love with Hip Hop?
Dan: It was around 1983 when I was about 12 years old. I would see snippets on the T.V. (Malcolm Mclaren’s Buffalo girls) and Geoffrey Daniels. I would go to the American Air Force bases in Suffolk. England with my Dad and see folks dancing. Later I’d get mix tapes from the Air basses and get the records from the second hand record stores.
HHH: What is your favorite Hip Hop track and why?
Dan: I haven’t got one… too many to name! Some the come to mind are O.C’s-Times Up, Soul Sonic’s- Planet Rock, Main Source- Fakin the funk…. So many. Every year until the late 90’s there would be some killer tracks. After the mid 90’s I went back to my roots and got back into B-Boyin’ and focused on collecting B-Beats, turntable skills and dancing. I found it hard to find quality tracks to play out or play on the Radio. (I played on Various Pirate radio shows from 1991 to 1998 and run a successful Hip Hop night the at embraced all the elements for a couple of years before i moved from the UK to NYC)
HHH: What are your thoughts about the power of Hip Hop?
Dan: As with the ‘power’ any Social movement/culture there can be incredibly beautiful moments and incredibly destructive moments. If in the right righteous hands and within the correct fellowship, amazing things can be created and be a positive force in our societal construct or it can be exploited in a variety of negative ways.
HHH: What is your favorite piece of art that you have created to date?
Dan: I have not got a specific piece, as the process is more important for me as an Artist. Raekwon’s LP cover was a great example of the working process. We talked about the concept, massaging rough ideas until we were on the same page. Some Egostrip illustrations come to mind… when the spontaneity combined with the technical aspect worked well. MF DOOM part 2 and 3, Wutang Clan, Eric B and Rakim, Nucleus, Black Sheep and Kool Herc are good examples of the creative process and journey that were more successful.
HHH: How does your craft make the world a better place?
Dan: Hmmmm…. Good question! I find it hard to put into words… It goes beyond the physical. I hope it permeates the consciousness of individuals that vibe with the drawings. It goes beyond Hip Hop, to the essence of being Human. Maybe with in the creative process we/I am a conduit for a higher consciousness? So it’s not coming from me, maybe my higher self/soul? On a more grounded way of explaining it; I consciously add symbolism that may spark intrigue or a subconscious remembrance of the God self. It’s an Alchemical process. It was once said; Any Man/Woman who is not an Artist is a traitor to his/her own nature. So having/finding creative outlet is incredibly important, especially in this time of mass indoctrination from these horrific centralised power structures, the awful mainstream school systems, the empirical power structure that’s all about controlling the Human family ….. don’t get me started!
HHH:What makes you create?
Dan: It’s in out divine nature to create. So I create because it heals, puts me in a good space, I’m giving back to the universe, I’m present when I draw/paint. As I mentioned in the last question, We are all meant to be creator beings in some description, so try not to consume and create!
HHH: What is something you want thr world to know?
Dan: A remembrance that we are all here for a reason. Our lives are our own Art project, so make it a thing of beauty.
We are very appreciative of the time Dan gave us to let us know more about him as the man and the artist. Find more of his art via his instagram.