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In Conversation with Daniel Perkin

Posted 22.04.20  - Craft


We are very proud to have partnered with British artist Daniel Perkin to create an exclusive capsule of printed silk pocket squares. Daniel is a passionate mental health and wildlife advocate, and these squares feature prints of artworks created by him exclusively for Turnbull & Asser. Depicting endangered British species, each design is a representation of Perkin's artworks, printed in and hand rolled in Macclesfield. Moreover, 20 per cent of the proceeds of each square sold will be donated to his chosen wildlife charity, The Wildlife Trust.

Daniel's early life was beset with challenges. He developed OCD at a young age, and was consequently bullied at school. Following this, he developed body dysmorphia, which he struggled to overcome for a number of years. All the while, his passion for art was constant, and with the support of The Prince's Trust, he established himself as a professional artist. Now, he's an established creative with a dedicated studio and impressive portfolio. His is a great story of resilience and positive energy, a testament to the power of personal creativity to do good in the world and overcome some of life's toughest setbacks.

Friend of Turnbull and writer, Aleks Cvetkovic sat down with him to learn a little more about his passions, his artistic approach and his hopes for our collaboration.

AC: Your passion for wildlife is evident in your work. Where did this come from?

DP: I've always felt connected to the natural world, because animals don't judge you. They're innocent. It's also about helping something that's largely defenceless; people do the planet harm in a way animals just don't.

AC: You've used your work to highlight causes that are important to you, as well as to raise money charities that support them. Can you tell us a little about the role you feel art has to play in inspiring change?

DP: I believe if people experience an emotional connection with a work of art, then they're more likely to make a change to their lives. Think about the art in your home; it constantly reminds you of the world beyond - it brings the outside in. Art is supposed to provoke a response that you can take with you beyond the painting itself, to make a difference in your own life.

AC: What would you say to a sceptic who argues "art isn't a vehicle for social change?"

DP: I'd say that if person has ever read a book, watched a television show or been to the theatre and it's moved them in any way, shape or form, then they need to think again. Most people connect with art on an unconscious level, even if they claim not to be moved by art consciously.

AC: How did this collaboration come about?

DP: I met Turnbull & Asser's owner, James Fayed, through an event organised by The Princes Trust. Needs something in here like 'he really liked my work and we hit it off immediately, and so we started talking about how we might be able to work together.' Following that, I met Turnbull's Creative Director, Becky French and sent her some ideas. Happily, she loved the them, so I started to work up rough sketches and we spent a few months going backwards and forwards on the designs. Then, one day, Becky spotted some of my charcoal drawings and we settled on recreating my charcoals on printed pocket squares. The texture of charcoal works very well with the screen-printing process.

AC: Why did you choose these three animals?

DP: These are some of the most endangered animals in Britain, but these are some of the most threatened and overlooked; there are only around 400 Scottish Wild Cats left in the wild and Pine Martens were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800s for their fur. We don't know how many hedgehogs there are in Britain today, but we do know that their numbers have plummeted by 96% since the 1950's.

AC: What's your artistic process like?

DP: Initially, I'll settle on which animal I want to work with. Then, I'll start to sketch it out, and source some reference images. I'll also look at ways to work my own style into the image. I've never been a fan of realism, I like to give my subjects more expression and a fauvistic touch. I'm colour-blind, so when I paint I'll add colours where they shouldn't be, which adds to the fauvist style of my art - I see more in tones than colours.

AC: What do you hope this collaboration will achieve?

DP: I hope this project helps us all to realise just how endangered some elements of British wildlife are today. Hopefully, having something like a pocket square that you wear every day will give you pause for thought. I think projects like this make a huge difference; if no one is prepared to raise awareness of an issue, change doesn't happen.

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Aleks Cvetkovic

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