Step in to the “reactive” and richly detailed world of illustrator Daryl Rainbow

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Step in to the “reactive” and richly detailed world of illustrator Daryl Rainbow


Interestingly, Daryl describes a lot of his personal work as “reactive,” in that it generally comes as Daryl’s way of reacting to moments in culture and society that he takes an interest in. It can range from moments in sport and politics to moments in music and film, and his pieces are, more often than not, littered with an array of references to catch. “These are spaces that usually have an ongoing recurring narrative that I tend to work from,” he explains. “Even with something as unimportant as football, there tends to be really interesting characters and narratives you can play around with.” Sport can also serve as a great prism for Daryl, as he takes the social and political themes that often channel through and get reflected off of sport. “It’s always quite fun juxtaposing things that are going on socially and politically in the world of football,” he explains. But, that’s not all. Perhaps most charming is Daryl’s clear artistic adoration for the place he has called home for the vast majority of his life: East London. “Council estates, Londonisms, and gentrification have been themes I tend to work from,” he says. “Having lived in London all my life, I quite enjoy glorifying the mundanity of certain aspects of it.”

No better is such London-infused work seen than in Daryl’s work for Adidas last summer. During the Euros, Daryl created a mural for the London Adidas stores which showed a diverse array of football-loving characters. “It gave me the chance to combine a lot of themes that I like working with,” Daryl says. “Londonisms, a suburban setting, multiculturalism, and football.” Another shining example of Daryl’s work being influenced by the city he calls home is in his collaboration with photographer Brunel Johnson. “I discovered his work from my agency [Studio Pi] and really loved the sense of narrative in his work and how he had shot different parts of suburban London,” he says. “The series ended up being called 100% Organic Gentrification and I was very pleased with the dynamic between the photography and the illustrated parts.”

Now, Daryl is anticipating his murals going up for Arsenal FC in the coming months, which continues his string of success in sports-related cultural iconography. And his agency is holding a takeover exhibition of Lower Stable Street in Kings Cross across April and May, in which Daryl will show a piece. For now, Daryl promises to “keep on doing the reactive stuff” in a time where “there’s a lot going on at the moment to work from”.



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