Artist Interviews

We Interview Mr Four Fingers

Welcome to the dark side: we introduce the two-piece South African duo, Mr Four Fingers, who, inspired by the grit and grime of London's streets, pursued a path of art, skulls and dark undertones.

By Charlotte Broomfield | 12 Aug 2013

Eve by Mr Four Fingers

Mr Four Fingers Eve

Tell us a bit about yourselves

We are a young South African duo inspired by the grit and grime of London's streets. An inspiration that has led us down a path of art, skulls and dark undertones. We are obsessed with what lies beneath, the tainted side – the unseen but only ever imagined.

How did the Mr Four Fingers collaboration come about?

We ended up living together in London and were looking for work in the advertising industry. By then the recession was in full swing and we struggled to find work in our respective creative fields, Doug as a designer/illustrator and Craig as a copywriter.

Both increasingly frustrated by the lack of creativity in our day jobs and after some time living in Camden, we decided to start a creative blog, and from there devised a plan to start selling t-shirts in the Camden market (which never materialised but MFF was born from it.) This was the start of our Mr Four Fingers journey and the rest  just snowballed from there.

Why 'Mr Four Fingers'?

As mentioned, the plan was to start selling t-shirts in Camden and there were 4 of us all living together. Each of us represented a function or skill that could be brought to the party, from accounting to investing, through to conceptualising and writing to illustration. So basically a multi-talented four-fingered hand that could do everything, except clap.

Four Fingers - Mr Four Fingers. BOOM. Now it's only two of us as we got selfish and didn't want to share our amazing idea which is obviously worth millions.

Describe your work in 3 words.

Dark, Curious & Tainted

Why the skulls?

The skulls represent a classic motif. They have been used for hundreds of years  in art and have always represented death. But we see skulls as a representation of life, and the fact it should be celebrated, otherwise the inevitable happens you die and perish quietly into the night. Plus they look cool as fuck.

Doug drawing skulls

Doug, one half of Mr Four Fingers, in action

Artwork by Mr Four Fingers

Art work by Mr Four Fingers

What's your inspiration?

Our inspiration comes from seeing other artists excel at what they do, which drives us to become better at what we do. The ideas for the designs generally come from a mixture of surreal dreams, oddities that exist in our culture and worn & scratched textured surfaces. I draw a lot of skulls, not just because they are iconic symbols; I just happen to like drawings them, enjoy what they stand for and admire their beautiful symmetry.

Top 3 street artists

Conor Harrington, Nychos, Dale Grimshaw

Got any fun up and coming exhibitions?

At the moment we are currently involved in the latest Curious Duke Gallery's exhibit, The Art of Curiosity. In the pipeline is also an October exhibition run by Mr Gresty called Whisper, we are also looking to run a live 'Left & Found'  street exhibition where we, and a bunch of other artists, explore London leaving original artwork behind for some lucky passers-by, hopefully taking place in September. Finally, we are potentially putting on a small skull-themed show for Halloween – TBC.

What piece is your personal favourite?

Doug - Cosmic Effuse because it was born out of pure experimentation with inks and water, where about 1 out of 30 blots of ink on paper would be usable to some degree. This particular one, mixed with digital vectors just worked out and made the discarded pile seem worthwhile. 

Craig - Enigmatic Skull, A4 illustration given to me by Doug for my birthday. A total cop-out gift, but luckily it's pretty cool. And I do love a good skull.

Skull Stencil Cut out

Skull Stencil Cut Out

An average week for Mr Four Fingers consists of...?

Doug - It's a very mixed week as I tend to mix it up with blogging (MFF and skull blog – the Skull Appreciation Society), sketching in my Moleskine, checking out design competitions and coming up with ideas. I'm always working on some bigger projects, so I tinker away researching those and then leave to last minute and crunch out a final piece. Though this is something I have to work on! I also tend to watch loads of tutorials, even if they are to do with painting as I love to see the process of other artists and glean information. If we have a meeting that week there also tends to be loads of whisky. 

Craig - Marketing the f*ck out of all our work. haha. In all seriousness, I spend time working on the websites, promoting our brand through various channels, looking after online orders, blogging, looking for new partnerships with galleries, design collectives, collaborations with other artists and bouncing ideas with Doug for new business opportunities and art. 

Cosmic Effuse

Mr Four Fingers Cosmic Effuse 

What Lies Beneath Art Exhibition by Mr Four Fingers

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