Congrats to David French, one of our favorite artists from a competition we held a few months back! David shares his profound views on art and how you should be experiencing art.
Interview With David French
How do you define art?
This particular question gets argued to death and I think it’s because of how muddled the dialogue gets by invested connotations and cultural assumptions. In general I think the best definitions are the ones which are broadest, and most flexible. Therefore I’m satisfied defining art as anything that is created for expressive and/or aesthetic purposes. Meaning is not defined; it is used. We know what a word means by how we use it, not because of how we defined it.
Why do people need art in their daily lives?
I think art is a part of people’s lives on an instinctual level, and you couldn’t get rid of if you tried. Everyone has a need to express, and partake in expression. Why do people need blood?
What drives you to create art and what inspires you?
Narrative is how humans make sense of the world. I’m trying to make the world make sense.
What inspired you to first begin creating art? Tell me a little bit about that stages your work has gone through?
I began working on art further back than I can remember(like most people I imagine). I made it because I had an itch to explore the world, and when you’re a kid and can’t just up and leave the planet.
As a kid, I just wanted to make stuff because I wanted to. And then I found out I could make a living off of it, but had no clue what that meant. When I eventually woke up and realized how shitty my work was, I shaped up and started putting some structure into my process of self education. Eventually I’ve come to a point where I remembered why I began to make art in the first place. Because I wanted to make things. I’m still learning, still pressing myself forward, but I’ve also come to a better understanding and self balanced motivation for why I work. I’m doing it, because it’s what I do.
What does your creative process look like when you are looking to begin a new work?
I consume a huge amount of art on a daily basis. Somewhere close to 100 different artists and art blogs. This is like carb loading for a marathon. The second part of the cycle is then running on the treadmill. Just putting in the time and discipline of practice to build muscle and push lung capacity. I’m usually working on several projects at once, so there’s not usually a distinct “new work phase”. It’s a constant cycle of taking in stuff, and churning stuff out. Garbage in, garbage out.
You produce art in various ways, how does each style affect you differently?
Different mediums have different advantages, and I like playing with the limitations of each medium. I’m always looking for new techniques and ways of doing things. I think my oil painting works tends to be more “bodily”. I like working very big, focusing on the tactile reality of the piece. Digital work, tends to be a little more experimental, as there’s greater freedom and speed in the medium. I can complete a digital piece easily in a day or less. There’s no dry time, and an infinite number of chops and screws I can apply to the piece and work it around.
What is the reality of our art world today? Do people experience it enough?
I think everyone likes and engages in art. Sometimes they just don’t know what to call it. There’s the “art world” and “The Art World” and while one is contained within the other, I think the Capital A and W is largely disconnected and remote from people. There are monied reasons why most people are kept out of The Art World. And many people are ignorant of the full diversity and range of art that they could participate in. We’ve got a payola problem on our hands.
Movements like Street Art interest me for this reason because they inherently cut through the dividers that keep people from feeling like they don’t belong. Pop Surrealism is another cool movement for similar reasons.
The design of everyday objects surround us is an interesting way that people interact with art, but often don’t know it. Whether it’s the beveled edge of their phone, or the cul-de-sac in their suburban layout, there’s meaning in the way things are made, and that meaning impacts people lives even if they don’t know it. The internet has done an amazing amount to help reconnect people with art.
How do you experience art?
With eyes and tongue.