James Marshall (Dalek)

James Marshall (born May 22, 1968), better known as Dalek, is an American artist and designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dalek have published two books featuring his artwork, as well as being included in many other books and magazines. His artwork has appeared on a wide variety of mediums, including sneakers, sculptures and a Scion car.

James Marshall was born in New London, Connecticut. Because he grew up in a military family, he moved quite frequently and turned to graffiti, skateboarding and punk rock to help form his identity. He graduated in 1992 from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in anthropology and sociology. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995. From 2001 to 2002, Dalek served as assistant to the influential Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The six-month assistantship proved to be a major turning point in Dalek's career: "I didn't have a real set direction for how I wanted to paint. I have seen one of his (Murakami's) shows that August at the Boston Museum, and when I saw those painting close up, I realized that was the end product I wanted to see my ideas come out in. I realized I needed that sort of apprenticeship."

Perhaps Dalek's most recognizable work is his Space Monkey character. According to Dalek, the Space Monkey, which looks like some strange twisted mouse, is his vision of a human being. In his art, he has used the Space Monkey as a recognizable tool for expressing his ideas. The Space Monkey character was a major focus of Dalek's artwork since he first created the creature in 1995. With his new pseudonym, he merged street art, cartoons, Japanese pop art and the energy of the punk scene which he associated himself with.

In 2007, Marshall reached a major turning point in his career. In a show at Jonathan Levine Gallery he used his real name and created a series of paintings that were complex and layered. The Space Monkey was now either missing entirely or only present in a fragmented form.

  • Dalek. Sonic Order Of Happiness. Brooklyn: powerHouse, 2005.
  • Marshall, James and Roger Gastman. Dalek Nickel-Plated Angels. Berkeley: Gingko Press, 2003.
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