Congratulations to our September 2016 Artist of the Month, David Caesar! Caesar was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! His piece Arrow can be seen below. Read more about Caesar and the project he’s currently working on that he hopes to spend decades perfecting.
Guelph, Ontario ~ davidcaesar.com
I began drawing at a very young age, with superhero comics as my immediate inspiration. In 1999, I graduated from the Interpretive Illustration program at Sheridan College in Ontario.
I make very little from my art and I simply don’t care! Selling a painting is a bittersweet experience for me: It’s like watching your children go out into the world. I pay the bills by teaching art classes at the Guelph School of Art and serving at a restaurant.
My focus is on magical realism that celebrates the strangeness of the everyday–the here-and-now–my chief influence being Alex Colville. I work almost exclusively from photographs, and about 100 were used as references for this painting. I typically use a CMYK approach to painting: magenta, yellow, cyan and yes, lots of black is added to many hues. Each work usually begins with a very finished drawing which is then enlarged and transferred onto the gessoed panel. I also tend to work from background to foreground. The drawing is finished to the point that it’s basically a paint-by-number process. I’m terrible at blending paint, so I use many layers of tiny marks or dots to “blend” the colors for me. Typically a painting takes me four months, but Arrow took me eight months, or 750 hours. I could have easily spent another year on it.
Arrow presented challenges and difficult decisions from the very start. I began well outside of my comfort zone with the figure and the environment. There are things that don’t make any sense in this image (the height of the deck railing, for instance) and I consciously sacrificed accuracy for composition.
Right now I’m completely immersed in a piece called Arctic World. It’s about an amusement park from the future in which there is no arctic left to speak of. The mediums involved are many: Pencil, acrylic, watercolor, sculpture and mold-making. There is no deadline, and I intend to spend years, if not decades on it. I’m hoping to have exhibitions for this project every five years or so, and I’m getting as many people involved as possible, with all different skill sets. One person is composing a soundtrack and another is designing wallpaper for the hotel rooms. There are metal smiths, photographers and a host of others that are contributing. I’ve never done a collaborative piece before and I absolutely love this process. I want to see how far I can take it.
For me, remaining idle is suicide. I’m forty years old now, and I already feel my mortality. So “Get to Work!” is the call of the day, every day. I’d love to give a more selfless answer, but I’m honestly doing this for myself.