Meet the artist: Deedoubleyoo

The Manchester artist spicing up your box


“My favourite thing about living in Manchester is the sense of community you feel, no matter where you look”, says artist and illustrator Dylan Woodall. “At the moment, there’s a number of amazing spaces nestled away in the suburbs and on the outskirts of town, where lots of people are doing wonderful things to make sure everyone who wants to be heard has a voice. It’s a city where everyone wants to help each other out, and it’s an honour to be from here.”

Woodall is a born and bred Mancunian, being from Stockport and now living in Withington; and while Free Assembly might have commissioned him to design the label for their beer in this month’s box on that basis, his work is worthy of celebration outwith his being a Manchester based illustrator. Woodall’s illustrations are playful and positive, textured and brightly coloured, but most interesting to me, I experience them as gently telling stories that might be complicated in their individuality.  

Dylan says something to this effect when I ask him why storytelling is such a central consideration in his illustrative work. “I think telling stories is important to me as an everyday life thing, rather than just in my artwork. You can get lost in stories, and I aspire to invite people to get lost in my work as they find their own narratives.” he says. “Naturally, I see illustration as a narration of the subtleties I find in my day-to-day life, and using my own work as a way of capturing that idea is a great outlet.”

He also tells me that his work has come to be somewhat centred around his use of risograph printing, a medium which allows him to embrace a longstanding interest in layering textures and patterns, and hybridise handmade and digital methods to produce work with an almost synthesised print feel. The influence of risograph printing, a medium known to produce subtly individual images with every replicated print, feels particularly appropriate in the creation of a beer label that celebrates a city as diverse and colourful as Manchester. 

“The label I’ve made depicts a canal scene” says Dylan. “Minus the dog drinking a tinnie on the barge, this would be quite a typical scene in Manchester. You’ll often find yourself dodging geese and cyclists as you trundle by the canal. I’ve also included some of my favourite monuments and landmarks such as the Vimto statue, which is a favourite amongst many a proud Mancunian. Opposite you can see the Alan Turing Sackville gardens monument. He’s a super important and iconic figure, embedded into Manchester's rich history. On the skyline, I’ve included a tram amongst some iconic buildings - another thing to watch out for when you’re in the centre!”

Wanting to acknowledge the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly in beer, the final question I ask Dylan pertains to the role collaboration plays in his work. “Collaborations are a funny way of working for me, as I mostly enjoy working alone” he says. “However, I really love the things that can be created as a product of multiple inputs. For example, I found it really useful to discuss with my girlfriend how she and I really view Manchester, aside from the obvious stereotypes. We talked about the rain a lot and how a lot of Mancunians see it as a strangely comforting, ever-present aspect of our lives. I guess collaborations are as much about collating a series of ideas, and seeing how they can align with the vision of the person or company you’re working with as they are just trying to stay ‘on-brand’.”

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