I cannot remember how exactly I first discovered David's work but I am simply happy and grateful I did because not only is he such a lovely person, but his paintings are just incredible; they are poignant, deep, dense and light all at once. There are very few artists I could so easily and gladly fill a whole wall of their art at home and every time I believe I have a favourite he creates a new piece and they all become my favourites. I hope you will enjoy discovering his work as much as I did and find out more about him.
1. Can you tell us a little about your background and journey?
I was born in 1968 and grew up in Southampton. I was always reading comics, watching cartoons and drawing as a kid. At the age of 10 I lost my Dad to a brain tumour and my brother was accidentally shot whilst in the Parachute Regiment by his own unit in Northern Ireland. That pretty much shaped the rest of my life. I wasn’t keen on school and left with no qualifications. I spent most of my teenager years in and out of trouble, basically off the rails. It was when Milly my daughter was born that I knew I needed to get my act together.
I enrolled in an Art & Design access course which led to a Foundation course and then in 1995 I went on to study Fine Art Printmaking at Winchester School of Art. It was here I met my wife Lisa. After graduating with a first class honours Lisa and I moved to London to pursue our dream of being professional artists. It wasn’t long before London would turn us into wage slaves. At the time I was working a lot with audio visual site-specific installations, so when a job at the Royal Society of Arts as an AV Technician came up I applied to gain more tech knowledge in the field. After 4 years I moved on to London College of Fashion as an AV Tech/Graphic Designer.
After 15 years of living & working in London we moved to Hastings. I went freelance which allowed me to focus on my painting and photography. After 5 years we were offered a property valuation and we decided to move to Wales. We’d toured on my motorcycle in Wales over the years, however had very little knowledge of West Wales, the area we now live in. We immediately fell in love with the barn and it’s location as soon as we saw it. Nestled into the most beautiful valley it sits at the base of the Cambrian Mountains, also known as the green desert due to its lack of roads and towns, and its inaccessibility.
Inspired by the undulating landscape of gurgling streams and waterfalls, lakes and reservoirs, lush valleys and forests it offers us the perfect location to spend time in, paint and connect with nature. We’ve lived in Wales for 5 years now and love it.
2. Do you like experimenting with different mediums or do you tend to stick to the same ones?
I often work with oil, household paint, graphite and charcoal, however, I tend to always come back to acrylics.
Recently I was exploring the possibilities of working with charcoal and ash. I had the idea of burning items that hold a lot of personal meaning, letters, photographs and postcards for example. There’s something about the concept of memory, sentimentality, keepsakes etc… that fascinates me. Reusing the energy that’s been in an animate object.
3. Do you have any rituals? How do you structure your day/week?
No rituals as such, however, I am a creature of habit. I certainly savour that first cup of coffee. I like to think I have a lifestyle that’s structured but loose enough to go with the ups and downs that life often throws at you. I spent 15 years of my life living and working to a routine, so I’m happy not having one at the moment. My studio practice is based on a when and if basis. When I feel the desire/need to paint and if I have a deadline as such.
4. Do you approach each piece with a consistent structure? Or do you let yourself be open and free to what is to come?
It really depends… If it’s a commissioned piece I start with the clients requirements very much in mind. If it’s a new collection I may simply see what happens when I start. I also have one style of painting that I start with in a set way.
The only consistent structure is paint & the tools I use. I do think it’s important for me to have an initial idea from the start, this probably comes from being a graphic designer for so many years. It’s like I’m setting myself a brief & I’m the client. I start with a rough idea of what I’d like to achieve, then allow myself to be guided by intuition and chance. It’s important for me to allow the painting to take over and evolve within itself.
5. Where do you get inspiration from?
Nature, life, death, art, music & emotions.
6. How do you reconnect with yourself or your practice when life gets too full or overwhelming?
My go to ‘fix’ has always been my motorcycles. I’ve owned scooters and motorbikes since I was even too young to own a licence. I learnt at a young age the sense of freedom, liberty and adventure a motorcycle can offer. It’s also linked to being able to get to the more remote, open, wild places in which we live. In 2022 I did a 3 week trip and rode through the Spanish & French Pyrenees taking all the old mountain roads over to Italy and then back to the UK through the Swiss Alps.
Having said that a simple walk in nature can be just as much a way to reconnect. It’s one of the main reasons we moved to Wales. We wanted to have a closer connection with it, and not have to always rely on driving to and from it. Since living in Wales I can’t express how much nature has helped me heal from past traumas. It’s such an important part of our lives.
Oh and a nap in our cosy shepherds hut does me the world of good!
7. How do you hope your work makes people feel or think
A deep personal response or connection
Photography by North Coast Asylum