Interview with dark horror pop surreal artist Dave Correia

DAVE CORREIA mixes charcoal, oil and acrylic paint to create a vibrant universe that, when observed, can reveal a lot about it's viewers. The inhabitants of these paintings are monsters to some viewers, but nurturers to others. Some may see pain and torment in one of Dave's pieces, where others will see liberation and resilience in the same panel. Saturated pinks and purples are physically bright, but emotionally dark. Regardless of the viewer's perception, however, Dave Correia's hyper-detailed, expressive paintings of beasts, bones, captors and gatekeepers present a world never seen before.
Hello dear Dave, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. I don't know if I've even "found" myself yet.

What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?

I surround myself with creative and inspiring people.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?

I get up and head down to the studio pretty early. I share a studio and own a business with Alex Pardee, so we'll usually meet up for coffee before we go to the studio. I try and get to emails and figure out what I'm working on in the morning, and by the afternoon I'm usually painting or drawing for whatever project I'm working on. I'll stay at the studio till at least 8pm-10pm. If  it's crunch time and I'm working on pieces for a gallery show, I'll stay till 2am.

What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperative for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?

I'm a mixture of both. I went to school for computer animation, but lost interest in that a long time ago. I've been drawing and painting for a long time and a lot of what I know is self-taught. But I take a lot of time trying new techniques and trying different materials. I practice techniques all the time. I go to museums and look at old master paintings to try and see how they applied paint. I go to the art store and buy new materials, just to see how I can use them differently. I also draw with my artist friends all the time and we share techniques.
Education in general is important. You must have a desire to learn as an artist. But paying for an art education doesn't guarantee you anything. I could probably write a whole essay on this question alone because so much of this is subjective and debatable. Everyone learns differently, and career opportunities can be very unique in this business. But the most important thing, in my opinion, is passion. All great artists I've meet, wether they were self-taught or school taught shared an undying passion for wanting to create.
How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?

My style is definitely dark. I honestly don't care too much what the viewer gets from it. I'm happy that that enjoy it (or they don't, that's fine too), but I always want the art to speak for itself. I prefer when the viewer can look at one of my images and interpret it in their own way. Maybe it scares them, or maybe it excites them. I just want them to feel something that is memorable.

What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?

It makes me happy. I have these ideas and visions in my head and it make me happy to bring them to life. I satisfy a certain personal curiosity when I paint and add characters and themes to my world.

Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?

Lately, I've been very comfortable with charcoal and oil paint. I love the look, feel and smell of those mediums. Sometimes I'll draw on a wooden panel with charcoal, then fit a light goat of gesso over it, then oil paint directly on that. It's been fun experimenting like that.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

I've always wanted to work on a stop motion animation.

Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hiding in your studio?

I just recently moved into a new studio that's just a few blocks from my house. I love it, it's my favorite place to be. It's really convenient to be able to walk to and from there on a daily basis. My studio is on the second floor, across the street from a bar, so I hear all kinds of drunken debauchery on the weekends. Everything from people fighting, to people crying and puking. I can sit on my balcony and watch it all, it's kind of funny to see people do that to themselves.

What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?

The toughest challenge was taking the "leap" into being a full time artist. For years I had a day job, and I would do all my art on the side. But when I decided to pursue art as a full time thing, it got very real. I'm glad I made that decision though, I feel I enjoy my life more because of it.

What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?

Best - Quit your day job and make art your "Plan A".
Worst - Just do art on the side.

Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?

I'm so happy where I am. I own an amazing business (ZeroFriends) with a few of my best friends and all I ever want to do is have fun, surround myself with friends, and make cool stuff.

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?

Work your ass off! Don't stop.

Your favorite art or life quote is ...

Work your ass off.

What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?

I love to sit on the couch with my girlfriend, play video games, pet my cats, and have a few too many beers.

Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work? is where you can find all my prints, shirts and stuff like that. is more of my gallery site.

Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?

I update my Instagram pretty regularly. If I'm working on a project or just doodling, I'll post it on there: @davecorreia . Thanks!
By contributor Linda. November 2014. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS.