I first came across the work of Denzel Currie on YouTube, and was immediately drawn into the world of work that he creates, of which punch needle rugs are a new addition. A London based artist who first began painting on clothing, he moves naturally between various mediums and now translates his illustration seamlessly into rugs. I love that he’s been able to take punch needle to a whole new level with the uniqueness of his work — both in style and shape — and has inspired a whole new crowd of creatives to embrace the medium through his Instagram and tutorials on his YouTube channel. Read on to hear more about what sparked his interest in punch needle, and how he blends his various interests into his art!
Tell us a little bit about your creative background. How did you come to do the work you do today?
I studied visual communication for 2 years at Birmingham City University but I hated the course. No disrespect to the tutors there I just felt I wasn’t getting my moneys worth so I left and finished my BA in illustration at Kingston University. When I graduated I wanted to be self employed but I just wasn’t ready at the time as a creative or financially so I went on to intern at Pentland Brands as a Junior Graphic Designer which turned into a full time position for 4 years. However, 3 years in I realised that giving all of my creativity to someone else’s vision just wasn’t for me. So I made a plan and for a year I worked from 9am-5pm and made art from 7pm-2am. Luckily for me the hard work paid off and now I make art full time.
How did you get started with Punch Needle? What about this technique appealed to you?
There’s currently a massive trend in the art community of rug making and it just looked so fun. It's almost like painting with thread and such a refreshing way to make art. I decided to go with the punch needle because it was cost effective and more approachable than using a tufting gun. it’s also important to me to make my work as approachable as possible considering i made Youtube tutorials and I want people to feel like they can do it too.
We'd love to hear about your creative process. How do you come up with new ideas? What are your sources of inspiration?
My work is based on mythical beasts. I love story telling and how each myth gives insight into the human condition. beyond that I have many different interests and rather than shy away from them I like to incorporate them into my style. I love footwear and sneakers and I like to match colour ways with my work. To come up with new ideas I build on past ones. when you pressure yourself to come up with something brand new every time it can give you creative block and anxiety but if you make small changes to old designs every time you’ll end up with brand new work over time.
How has your work evolved over time?
I first started painting on thrifted clothing. It was the same theme of mythology just on a different medium. Eventually I started making video tutorials which added a video element to what I was doing. I consider the whole experience of watching me make the art and the final piece itself to all be a part of my work. As I was growing more as an artist I became naturally curious about different mediums and this led me to making bags, furniture and, of course, punch needle rugs.
What is your favorite part about the work that you do?
I think the freedom that it’s given me. I’m able to experiment with any medium I want so I never get bored and I have an audience that isn’t married to one particular thing that I do. I always picked crafts that are super relaxing. It's a great way to spend the day and it's so important to enjoy making these things because they take days at a time.
What do you hope others see / take away from your work?
Luckily I have an engaged audience and they tell me that I inspire them to be creative, which is an amazing feeling. Also it’s great to see people tagging me in their work and seeing how hard they’ve worked on there craft. I often share their work on my instagram story to get them some extra exposure.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have made?
I don’t have a favourite piece. When I’m finished with a piece I let go of it emotionally, that way its just easier to move to the next. Is so easy to get super attached to something you’ve spent days/weeks working on but that’s not a useful feeling if you want to keep improving. But, saying that, I am proud of the hard work I put into all of them and I think all my work represents me very well.
What punch needle materials and tools do you use? Do you have any favorite supplier recommendations for tools, material or yarn?
I use an adjustable punch needle by “Rico Design” its great because the smallest setting gives great detail and the largest is great for texture. I use monks cloth as a base. It's the best material in my eyes because it’s so soft.
What advice do you have for other artists or creatives looking to try punch needle?
Just jump right in, there isn’t really a barrier for entry when it comes to skill. anyone can do it. Its a super relaxing and rewarding art form. I learned everything from watching youtube videos. Theres so much information out there to get you started on the right track. I would suggest starting small with an embroidery wheel just to get the hang of the technique.
Where do you see your work going in the future?
I want to start making creative spaces like full rooms. All the furniture and design elements. I also want to expand my video presence online.
How can the punch needle community support you and your work?
Subscribe to my youtube channel www.youtube.com/curriegoat
What is something that you are excited, or curious about these days?
Footwear design. I’ve always wanted to have my own sneaker and I’m thinking of making it myself one day. There was a time were I was going to wait to make a deal with sneaker a company but I think making something myself would fit my brand better. I’m really excited about possibly incorporating punch needle work also.
What are 3 other fun facts about yourself that you would like to share with the Punch Needle Community?
1. I pour milk before my cereal.
2. I’ve played every main series Pokemon game.
3. My logo is my name turned on it’s side.