Artist David Galchutt Shares His Story
An amazing artist with the gift of illustration. David opens up about his life and the knowing his true self.
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I was born in Pasadena, California in 1959 to parents who met at Chouinard art school back in the 50’s. My dad was a graphic designer, my mother studied costume design.
Their interests have been very influential to me. I love to incorporate both design and costume in my images. I don’t think that many illustrators realize what a tool that costume can be in telling their stories.
I grew up in a happy suburban home in long beach. But I was the nerdy, skinny kid who sat in the back of the classroom doodling constantly and barely paying attention. I was always the last one to be picked for sport teams.
In kindergarten I did discover that my crayon drawings were somehow “different” from the other kids. I think I was encouraged by this and making art became a compulsion. I do not use that term lightly. It still is a compulsion.
High school was an endless purgatory. Life began for me when I was 18 and entered art center college of design in Pasadena as an illustration major. Five full days of art classes per week was a scholastic heaven that I could only imagine.
Upon graduation I landed a steady freelance position at a small design studio in Long Beach. I ended up staying there for 21 years. The studio dealt primarily with toy clients, mostly Mattel. I worked for many years as a stylist for Barbie. She was a good plastic friend…. she paid my bills. During this time I also pursued my own illustration…. some advertising and the publication of a children’s book that I both wrote and illustrated. I had hoped to pursue more children’s book illustration work but by the time my book was published, Simon and Schuster had merged with another company and the art directors I worked with vanished.
After the attacks of 9/11 work at the design studio dried up (Mattel seemed to stop using outside vendors). I had to find another position and I had no computer skills. I ended up working the next 11 years for a highly dysfunctional giftware company in south orange county. Learning about the giftware industry and about creating “attractive” imagery that would appeal to the masses was challenging and frustrating. I learned to plug into my iPod, keep my mouth shut, and my head down. The company crumbled around me and I was eventually laid off.
Having a stubborn streak, I refused to go digital. I do not have any interest in sitting in front of a computer all day. I was unemployable in my chosen profession.
I did continue to do some freelance work during my giftware years… primarily for highlights a children magazine. It’s a relationship that I treasure.
Five years ago I switched from watercolor to oils. Watercolor was never a favorite medium but it was expedient and suitable for children’s artwork. I was continually frustrated about the lack of depth of color and decided to pursue another medium that I knew little about, oils. It’s still a journey for me but I really prefer the look and feel of oil paint. I wish I had switched over years earlier. I feel I still have so much to learn.
In January of last year I sold my house in southern California, packed up, and moved to a small town in coastal Oregon (I have family here). I am enjoying a beautiful, peaceful environment that I hope will be beneficial to my work.
I have a part-time job (not art related) and I continue to freelance for highlights magazine and pursue the artwork that I want to produce. I also have an art licensing agent http://www.artlicensing.com/. I have an etsy shop where I sell my art https://www.etsy.com/shop/artmeister
I would love to be represented by a gallery but I haven’t a clue as how to do that. Ultimately my goal would be to make a living doing the art that I’d like to pursue full-time.
I love to travel, primarily in Europe. I love producing children’s art but I don’t have kids. I don’t like most fruit or vegetables. I love classical and alternative 80’s music. Laughter/a sense of humor is of primary importance. I would love to have a dinner date with Miranda Hart. I watch turner classic movies every day. I’ve never felt that I have fit in with any existing art style. I’ve never seen a star wars or star trek movie. I would like to be Cary Grant. I like old things. I prefer cats to dogs. The Cluny in Paris is the world’s best museum. I don’t intellectualize my work… I like painting beautiful images or things that might amuse or make the viewer smile.
My art heroes are, in no particular order….
Vermeer, van Eyck, Modigliani, Mary Blair, Gennady Spirin, Gaugiun, Toulouse Lautrec, Edward Gorey, Gustav Klimt, Dorothy Jeakins, Grant Wood
To view more of David’s work visit his website http://davidgalchutt.com/
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