I went to university to study illustration, it was always what I wanted to do, never any doubt. That was until a man called Jen Southam came along and showed me things. He showed me cut up photographs, constructed images, scribbled on negatives, painted on polaroids, photo-illustrations, manipulated, altered and distorted photography and many more wonderful creations... and I was tempted.

Steel Tiger - Darren Hopes

Darren Hopes and Steel Tiger

Darren has created images and cover-art for The Cutler, J*S*T*A*R*S, and Steel Tiger.

"I met him when he befriended me on MySpace and his gorilla avatar caught my eye, a quick glance at his portfolio confirmed his obvious talent. Darren is an amazing artist who I am proud to call a collaborator." Steve Cobby (July 2011)

Darren Hopes says: "I have listened to Steve Cobby as 50% of Fila Brazillia since dot. A long-term fan! Then I joined his MySpace; he saw my info then contacted me about Steel Tiger, and cover illustrations for the new J*S*T*A*R*S release. Steve sent me the tracks and whilst listening to them I created the artwork you see. In fact I created a few drafts, I title my drafts and one was called 'Put Me On A Planet' - and that ended up the album title: very chuffed! Yes, I was star struck by J*S*T*A*R*S! This cover and The Cutler album cover, with the stag antlers that speak, were bespoke for the music - Steve has selected other artwork for The Cutler from my portfolio. Oh yes indeed, I'm still a fan!"

Artist and illustrator

Locked in a self-imposed exile from the outside world, Darren lurks in his attic studio hermitage in deepest Cornwall creating visual bait so that the commissioners of the world might be tempted into contacting him. It's worked too! A degree in Photography and a love of paint and found things lead his richly textural illustration.

Spiral Studio

Spiral Studio is the alter ego of illustrator Darren Hopes. In contrast to my more painterly graphic approach to illustration my Spiral Studio images deal with a starkly photographic aesthetic. The resultant constructed images have been described as having a surreal dreamy atmosphere. they are an amalgamation of usually self conducted photographs subtly composed in photoshop, photographs made with the heart of a painter I hope. I enjoy subject matter with a strong narrative quality, especially with a dark, surreal or emotional twist. I recently came across a review of my work and it contained the sentence 'Spiral delves into the alchemy of moment and narrative' I think that about sums up my vision.

"Love is recognising the duality in all" This maxim is demonstrated brilliantly by UK photographer and illustrator Spiral, whose images enchant and ensnare the viewer in the conflict between the innocent and the depraved, the virtuous and the fallen, the sacred and the profane.

Spiral Studio | Darren's Spiral Studio blog

Recent exhibitions

Circus Show - CIA collective exhibition | Funtime Nocturnal Exhibition - Semi permanent exhibition in London | Consequences - CIA collective exhibition | Night of the Senses - Erotic Photography finalist | Coningsby Gallery - State of the Art collective exhibition | Coningsby Gallery - Vox Pop collective exhibition | Coningsby Gallery - Landscapes

Recent features

CIA licence to inspire, 3x3 directory, Creative Quarterly, Creative Review, Computer Arts, DPI Magazine - (Taiwan), New Illustrators file (Japan), New York Arts Magazine, Advanced Photoshop Magazine (UK), Nude Magazine (UK), Vision Magazine (China)


UK, Europe, UAE: Central Illustration Agency | USA: Bernstein & Andriulli | Japan: Art Box Agency

Print sales

To purchase 'prints' of Darrens work see Peepshow shop or contact Sarah Hopes on: sarahhopes@btinternet.com

Artwork for Chandrahas Artwork for Cinquedea Artwork for Claymore Artwork for Cutler Artwork for Épée Artwork for Hacksaw Artwork for Put Me On A Planet Artwork for Pickaxe Artwork for Scimitar Artwork for Stiletto

I am a mixed media artist working with a combination of mediums including, drawing, photography, hand rendered acrylic, digital painting, model making and photoshop.