In a nutshell, what do you do?

I do a couple of things. I am the creative partner at Unltd-inc, a company I co-founded a couple of years back, where we create marketing and branding solutions for start-up companies, and then on weekends I am an artist.

What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?

It depends on the task. When I do stuff for clients through Unltd-inc, I follow a brief. It’s more of a scientific process that requires strategy and data and all sorts of important shit coming together, and as a result it takes a lot of time from start to finish. Whereas with the art, I am an open-eyed idiot constantly looking for things and themes to inspire me, and I can turn stuff around incredibly quickly. Then it becomes about time management: finding the time to do both the thinking and production part of the process, and then complete it and move on to the next project.

Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?

There are lots of artists who do stuff with bold typography, so to be honest, I’m not sure my creative style is unique at all. The thing I suppose I have that is to my advantage is a rigorous strategic approach and also the desire to create something that is not just a pretty picture. The work has to be bold and connect with the viewer in an emotional way. I want the viewer to 'feel' something, to stir something within them. And from my experience in advertising I know that works.

I have only been doing the art thing seriously since 2014, so I have been playing catch up on a very intense learning curve. But I will stick doggedly to the principles I have always applied to my creative process.

When are you most creative?

Hahahaha, I have no idea. Ideas come pretty much whenever and wherever with me. It can be first thing in the morning when I’m riding my motorcycle around, last thing at night just before sleep – I’ve even started to think about stuff as I’m trying to get to sleep. I close my eyes and visualise stuff. Maybe because it’s silent and black, I feel like I’m in a float tank, and my mind runs riot and I end up dreaming and thinking about things constantly. I have a little pad and pencil by the bed and write everything down, then in the morning I look at the scribbles. Most of it is nonsensical rubbish, but every now and then something good will come.

Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

I start in a strategic way. I think about what people are doing, saying, watching, listening to and mush all that shit up and try and turn it into something that is nice to look at – but importantly – has an emotional hook somewhere in it. An idea. Something sticky that will make my print popular. So, I look at everything and anything and it all sits in my brain pan rattling around. It’s a bloody nightmare.

I love to use creativity to solve a problem – it’s the way I have been trained in advertising. In an ad agency you have bigger teams of people all bringing very specialist skills to the table, and I treat my approach to art in the same way. I don’t want to just make nice pictures (there are plenty of artists who do that better than me). My dream is to create that print that millions of people want on their wall. The tennis girl with her bum out would be my benchmark. Hhahha.


Did you seek being creative or did creativity find you?

I am stupid, lazy and stubborn. It’s why I was so spectacularly shit at school. My mum kept all my drawings when I was a young kid and I have piles of scrap books with my sketches in them. Looking back, being creative was pretty much the only thing I was interested in doing and therefore the only thing I could do, and I am eternally grateful that I have had the chance to have a good life and long career doing that.

Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Absolutely. Both my parents are immigrants: my mum’s Danish, my dad’s Italian, and both are very entrepreneurial, and that entrepreneurial energy has been a massive driver in my life. Creativity is, by its nature, energetic and I think very opportunistic. It’s all about being totally engaged and aware all of the time and trying to find solutions to problems – whether they are marketing problems or art – and creating something that people like. It's the same thing. Inventing desire.

Have you ever struggled with creativity?

Oh constantly. It happens every bloody minute. On a good day, I am bolshy, fun, noisy, cocky and over confident, but I can totally fall apart emotionally in an instant. If I'm at work and I do something that doesn’t work, I think I'm useless. If I do a print that doesn’t sell, I am a terrible artist and on the verge of jacking it all in and becoming a pole dancer again. Sadly, it happens all the time. It’s life. Luckily, I've had a lot of experience of failure. I’m used to it. So after a little cry and a packet of Jaffa cakes I bounce back fast, and stronger than before. My real strength is that I don’t give up.


Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

I was sitting at home in the 70s watching telly with my dad, and saw The Sex Pistols on the Today Show. I was twelve. But it had a massive effect on me. There were lots of things going on at the time, the government was in crisis, there were rubbish strikes and even electricity strikes, the power would go off at 7pm and you would get the candles out! It was insane! There was a lot of tension with disaffected youth and the outlet was music, fashion and art, and it exploded with the arrival of punk. It was like a perfect storm scenario. I was a pubescent teenager and highly influenced by everything at the time. I loved the artwork of Jamie Reid and was intoxicated by the ‘fuck you’ attitude to authority. Since then I have gone through my life and career like a teenage punk. Always asking questions, always saying “Bollocks to that!” I hate politics and corporate bullshit, which has made my journey in advertising interesting! Everything in my career has been done to learn and then formulate a better way, and for me that was trying to create nicer places to work that bring personal values and integrity into the workplace.

Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

First off: Don’t go into advertising. Unless you like working for arseholes and colouring in by numbers. I would work out what creative discipline you are most excited about and then go for it. Work out how to be the best, work out what your brand is all about, how your personal values, vision and mission influences what you do, and then just express yourself in as many places as you can. Putting thought, effort and hard work into your own brand is a good place to start.


Do you think creativity has defined you?

It definitely has, yes. ‘Creativity’ and creative expression has been the most fundamental thing in my life. I am driven by two things through my creative output:
One – to keep busy, (it’s an immigrant thing, keep busy and look useful because at some stage they might ask you to leave).
And two – to make a difference, to make things better and more interesting. I have been fortunate to use my creativity to do that.

The world I work in is very traditional and throughout my career I have been lucky enough to work in very creative companies that not only produced very powerful work, but also challenged the conventions of the industry. And having a mission and something to kick against is a very stimulating combination to get you up in the morning.

What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

Right now, I’m like a pig in shit. I’m very, very happy. I’m working with ambitious and passionate people in my day job at Unltd-inc, and I create my own art the rest of the time. I’m seriously living the dream. Obviously, if I could do anything, I would like to be an international hitman. The money is amazing and women are often intrigued.

T H A N K   Y O U

Find Dave Buonaguidi on Instagramand his art through Print Club London, Nelly Duff and Jealous. His book 'BLAH BLAH BLAH' is available to buy on Amazon.