Street Fantasies: The Wild World of DirtyRobot
Journey to the near future imagined by Daniel Isles where masked gangs rove the streets, telekinetic teenagers wander in clouds of floating candy and machine bits, and giant robots face-off over cyberpunk cityscapes. Better known by his internet alias, DirtyRobot, his world is one where anthropomorphic tigers, multi-armed cyborgs, and levitating witches brush shoulders. His work is wild and wide-ranging in concept, but rendered in a clear graphic hand that fuses it into a natural, stylish whole.
Above: Hungry Tiger v.s The Fox Demon, 2017.
Above: Cats and Tako, 2018.
Above: Candy Blast, 2018.
Style plays heavily in Isles’ art; his characters are impeccably and inventively dressed, and his illustrations can be read as works of fashion as much as gonzo sci-fantasy. Born and raised in Birmingham, England, Isles worked as a clothing designer for years before shifting his full focus to graphic art. Now calling Japan home, the street styles of both of his home and adopted countries are clear influences in his work. Isles also pulls inspiration from across the gamut of Western and Eastern graphic art. My eye catches echoes of Moebius, Katsuhiro Otomo, Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, and California tattoo culture; all working to push his highly contemporary street aesthetic into the future. That Isles can shape this array of influences into something coherent and exciting is a testament to his astonishing talent.
Above: Giant Robot BRABUS v.s The Block, 2017.
Above: Wondering Lions, 2017.
Above: Full Cycle, 2017.
Above: Take Us to Your Leader, 2018.
Above: Combat Mode, 2017.
Above: The Gardeners (A.K.A The G-Men), 2017.
Above: Soldier Undefeated, 2018.
Daniel Isles is remarkably hard-working. In 2017 he produced a pen and ink drawing every day of the month as part of “Inktober“. The year before that he produced a drawing for every day of the entire year without a single omission. Delving into his seemingly endless portfolio reveals that each piece is part of larger work; characters recur, friendships and rivalries develop, and the skeleton of a plot emerges.
We’ll close with a few choice images from his 2017 “Inktober” effort:
Above: Broken Science, 2017.
Above: The Lookout, 2017.
Above: Tribal, 2017.
Cover Image: Unicorn Beam (Brabus v.s The Block), 2017.