Studio Visit 0

Dave Murray, Illustrator

Dave Murray is a Toronto-based illustrator. He works in a home studio. His clients include National Post, Hazlitt, Playboy and The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association. He also founded the Garrison Creek Bat Company¬†with C.R. Fieldhouse and Ryan Christiani, a project that combines design and baseball. He’s participated in group and solo shows around Toronto including AWOL, SMASH and Hunt Club.

I do drawings, I do screen prints–I do a lot of things. My bread and butter is freelance illustration, and I do those word maps of Toronto. I’m getting into sign painting now and gold leafing. Every so often, I have a gallery show with some friends. I also have a baseball bat company. Why do I do all this? I don’t know. It works out pretty well because if I’m getting bored with one thing, or need to step away for a while, I can always go finish a baseball bat or screen print some stuff.


I’m in this room quite a bit. Probably too much for it to be healthy. Most of my illustration work is done on the computer. I can sit and listen to music, or play my guitar. I ship and pack prints in here too. I can print too. I have a tabletop I put onto of my flat files to do screen printing. I also have a studio space for screen printing, but this is where I do the majority of my work.
When I first started taking commercial clients, I was not that organized or professional. It’s really one of those things you learn with time–a work flow, a routine. Luckily, I did my co-op with an illustrator named Tavis Coburn. He’s probably the busiest person I’ve ever met. Everyday it’s one, two, three jobs on the go. I don’t think he sleeps. I picked up a few good tricks from him and how he sets a solid work routine for himself.





I can never sit in silence. No way, no how. Sometimes I’ll throw on a movie just for some background noise when I can’t listen to music anymore. Working at home, by yourself, you need music, TV, a movie, something with a human voice that can be in the background. Before I got a dog, I would sit there and talk to myself. Now I talk to the dog, I’m not sure which is crazier.


If I don’t keep up with the work, if one day I decide, ‘I’m not going to do this project,’ I will fall off the face of the earth as a professional illustrator. I always have to have something on the go because it’s very hard to get back into the game. There’s some fresh graduate, who’s probably very talented, just waiting to take the job.


The perk of the job is that it’s a job that I love. Seeing good work makes me want to do good work. I want to make work that people think is cool. I want people to look at it and be like, ‘I love that.’ Maybe it has no meaning whatsoever, but if it looks cool, hey, why not? I don’t think that all art has to be made with some sort of deeper narrative behind it. It can be a glossy package on the surface and that’s that. That has value in itself.


–Dave Murray, as told to Studio Beat

Photos by Courtney Vokey



Visit Dave Murray’s website here.

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