Last Orders Please: An Interview with Dan Cimmermann

Sun-bleached, tattered posters pasted on crumbling Italian walls featuring a meld of noble portraiture, street art and anime illustrates the exquisite style of artist Dan Cimmermann’s repertoire. As a long-time admirer, optimistically gathering shades of goodness from a horrid time, a piece all of my own from Cimmerman's fair hands sits on my drawing-room wall. Its prime position is thanks to the Artist Support Pledge during the pandemic. 'Such a clever initiative,' he tells me, enthused.

'Artists from all aspects of their careers levelled out. It was a great way for someone like me to open my work to a wider audience and to buy and discover the work of artists that wouldn’t normally be affordable or your cup of tea,' he reflects, 'I first came across ASP on Instagram and wanted to get involved. I purchased several works including drawings and paintings by Wilfred Wood, Alex Booker, Matthew Collings, Broken Fingaz, Mr Ayrz and Andrew Churchill.'

A linked chain of generosity, artists are invited to post work online, priced £200 at the most. When they sell £1000 worth of their wears, they select a peer to purchase art from for £200. It goes on. And my painting? A painting I marvel at every single day? Black Swan. 'Black Swan is one of three drawings named after pubs,' Dan demonstrates, 'The idea is a simple one: I am imagining and recreating the layers of history built up over time that the walls of the pub bear witness to.'

The original figure is mono-printed onto the surface, and then layers and marks are constructed. 'These particular pieces started with images of Hans Holbein drawings. Various media such as oil paint, spray paint, posca pens and oil pastel is applied to the surface.'

Our forced pause proved practically productive for Cimmermann, entitling him to stop and fine-tune his focus without the added pressure of deadlines dominating his practice. 'Many shows were cancelled, so it allowed me to get back to drawing, something that can be hard to find the time for when exhibitions are looming. It also allowed greater experimentation time with media and ideas.'

With savvy artists prospering through social media channels of late - there was no other way - Dan believes that galleries now have to conjure even more of an 'unforgettable experience' for their audiences in a fresh phase of participation. "It is great to see shows opening up post-pandemic. Spaces like 180 The Strand and Unit London are pioneering new ways to show and display art.'

New dad Mr C has taken a step back from exhibiting himself recently with the birth of beautiful baby George, but that does not imply he has not frequented his hallowed turf of a showroom, introducing his son to his world. "A recent visit to the Bourse de Commerce was incredible. We went on a family trip to Paris recently. It was George’s first trip abroad. We went to the Musée d'Orsay - Manet was a highlight- but the biggest impact of the trip was Urs Fisher's installation in the main space at the gallery.'

He resumes, 'His detailed sculptures made from wax, left to burn and eventually disappear, looked stunning in the space. The fallen debris from the melted body parts strewn across the floor was particularly interesting," Dan remembers with the utmost respect.

Taking a self-deprecating glimpse in the mirror, the outlook of white English tourists, the Brit abroad, if you will, is displayed in his current large body of stimulus, based on masks and cultural appropriation. Cimmerman says, 'Hand-picking elements of different cultures and immersing ourselves with objects and obsessions to appear more culturally aware and brag to our peers seems intriguing to me. Or equally, taking our Britishness abroad, requesting those in other countries to meet our needs and expectations equally baffles me.'

'Dipping in and out, having an opinion, gathering trophies and returning to our beds and a hot mug of Yorkshire tea. All of this has echoes of the Grand Tours of the Victorian age – fascinating.' The plan is to exhibit the rousing statement next year; no gallery or date is set as the project grows. However, to get a D.C. fix, unseen pieces are currently hanging in Newcastle upon Tyne's esteemed barnesque Biscuit Factory; and his artistic, spiritual palace Art of Protest, York in the New Year.

Article by Beverley Knight