Thursday, October 2, 2014

In Conversation: David Glyn Davies

The launch of David Glyn Davies' solo exhibition Overgrown was the largest opening event so far at the Quest Hawthorn Community Project Wall. The hustle and bustle of the thronging crowds made for a warm and exciting atmosphere. The general feeling for the art and, most especially for the artist himself, was one of quite intense goodwill. Having spent the last couple of years away from the full-time rigour of art practice to care for his wife, David has returned with a resounding declaration of his talents and his capability as a significant artist (and his wife has returned to full health as well!). We put some questions to David about his work, and he kindly took the time to give us an insight.

A capacity crowd at the opening
THG: What pathway has led you to your career in art?

David Glyn Davies: I knew I wanted to be an artist from the age of eleven. My parents took the family on a trip to Paris and during the trip we went to the Louvre. I saw Theodore Gericult’s ‘Raft of the Medusa’ for the first time and was taken over completely by the size of it. I announced to my parents and brothers that I was going to be an artist. I can remember them laughing. Forty six-years later, I’m still at it and the ‘Raft of the Medusa’ is till my favourite painting.

THG: How would you describe your work, what are the major themes present?

David Glyn Davies: I don’t believe artwork should ever remain static in its content or development. I tend to work on one or two thematic ideas at the same time. The major theme of the paintings and statement exhibited on the Community Wall was developed to draw attention to the many beautiful buildings (religious and secular), in Melbourne’s suburbs that have been demolished for redevelopment. All of my thematic ideas start with stories and poetry. I pick and choose from these before working in my sketchbooks. I am drawn instinctively towards subjects that are rich in subject matter and imagery.

THG: How do you use the materials that you use to express these themes?

David Glyn Davies: I use a combination of digital media and traditional painting techniques. I recently changed from using oil paints to raw pigments. I have a slab of polished marble in my studio upon which I grind the colours. I find that pigments give me a far greater range of tone, texture, translucency and luminosity than oil paint. I tend to work in layers, which are sealed at various times during the process. It’s a bit like physical Photoshop (that uses transparent layers in the same way). This technique of painting is not new.  The Ancient Etruscans painted this way in their tombs three thousand years ago. There’s nothing new under the sun! I saw these beautiful works of art on a trip to Italy (Tuscany) thirty years ago and have been painting the same way ever since.

THG: What is your work practice like, do you work from a studio or from home?

David Glyn Davies: For the past thirteen years I have worked from a studio. The studio is well laid out in two parts; one side for my digital art and printing and the other for writing, painting and drawing. I don’t like working in mess so I tend to keep the studio tidy. I keep regular hours.

THG: What do like best about what you do?

David Glyn Davies: The best part of what I do is the moment when an artistic idea comes into being. I am influenced artistically from so many different sources. Part of the challenge of bringing an artistic idea to fruition is to find an aesthetic that is mine while at the same time acknowledging the artistic and political history from which it sprang.

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