Rourke Van Dal… Art Knock Life
His earliest memory of drawing, is at the age of 5, when he drew Christmas cards for family members. Encouraged by his family, he began drawing animals from the age of seven, experimenting with dark and light he slowly transformed his scetches into lifelike creations, his art had now moved to the first stage, from simple but accurate Santas to realistic scetches. Heavily influenced by his two brothers who both were painters with oil. Rourke's early recollections of his brother Paul an Artist & Printmaker were in 1974, Paul used the skills he learned as a screenprinter in a local supermarket to produce poster art, which was then plastered all over their bedroom. It was Rourke's first experience of Stencil art, Paul cut out the stencils of pop idols by hand, using Sericol Amber Film, then he would screen print them on to Dayglo paper, all this was done in a converted coal shed in their backyard. Paul also painted in oils for working class people from the Estate known as 'Thorpe Edge'. He painted the commisions in his bedroom at 69 Northwood Cresent. With Rod Stewart & Bowie playing on the paint splattered record player, he would sit in his swivel chair, applying the paint delicately to the surface of the hardboard, while singing (badly) and create these masterpeices in front of Rourke's eyes, fascinated by the paint, brushstrokes and technique but it would be another 10 years down the line before Rourke would pick up a brush.
Rourke didn't like school very much, so didn't go very often, accept when he had an Art lesson of course, he would much prefer to be at home drawing on the coffee table. He left school in 1985 with no qualifications and started work as a trainee Gearbox Technician, his days covered in oil didnt last very long, as when Paul his brother set up a small Lithography print company and required an artist, or past-up artist as it was then known, Rourke was the man for the job. Macs weren't around, so all the text had to be carefully cut with a scalpel and pasted up for artwork, if they needed a logo or graphic it had to be drawn in technical pen by hand. Rourke did one year at Bradford college and Studied Printing and Graphic Arts before he started work and it was there he did his first watercolour of Big Ben, this ignited his flame again and from then on he would paint landscape after landscape, he did his first litho print release in 1989 of two local scenes of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which sold rather well locally in exhibitions and galleries. He then had a bit of lull although he still painted the odd picture, in this period he got married, had his first child, got divorced. Although he drew stenciled art in the early 90's for his job, as by now his brothers business had moved into t-shirt printing. The idea of painting landscape after landscape like every other Tom, Dick & Ashley (Jackson), was not fueling him anymore. It was not until the late 90's early 0's when he produced Stenciled Movie & Music Icons, some large scale on canvas, these were sold in the Leeds and Bradford area in various Galleries, with also later interetst by fine art agents and publishers. The Pop Artist in Rourke was now in full swing but every other Tom, Dick & George (Ioannou) got onto the Icon band wagon, and there was still something niggling his art from contentment or missing from the equation. It was late 06 early 07, He found it and himself.
From that time he has continuously worked on his style and devloped his techniques, he now is at a happy place with his art, he continues to experiment with new techniques and believes he will only stop when he his in a box. His life experiences and where he comes from have made him who he his and his art as taught him where he is going.
Rourke Van Dal has established himself as one of the most popular Urban artists on the scene. Drawing influences from the Street, Urban, Pop Art, Dada Movements, Rourke's iconic images often refer to the man made detritus of every day life, the decadence of consumerism and issues related to social injustice. Celebrated works include 'Last Bus Home' and 'Anteros' Rourke has exhibited internationally and his work is held in private collections throughout Europe, Japan and the USA.