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Art & Life with David Trulli

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Trulli.

David, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
For many years, before I was an artist, I worked as a cinematographer. I would walk onto a dark set and start to add light. My art is the same way – I start with a pitch-black panel and “add light.”

As much as I enjoyed shooting film, something wasn’t right. I did not relish navigating the politics of Hollywood and many of the projects I worked on were not fulfilling to me. I started creating art on the side using a technique called “scratchboard.” Almost by accident, I showed one of my scratchboards to a gallery and the response was good. Acting on faith, I decided to pursue my individual art. Soon after, I left cinematography altogether.

As a cinematographer one always has to deal with restrictions, whether it’s time, money or the setting sun. Working as an artist, I was freed from the confines of the physical world. If I wanted to draw a very high angle view, I could do so without the need for a crane or helicopter. Even the laws of physics can be bent and reshaped when you draw a picture. I was used to working within the limits of a strained film budget but while drawing none of that mattered. This liberation was energizing.

Unlike filmmaking, my art is a solo pursuit. As an artist alone in my studio I become producer, writer, director, and cinematographer all in one. When complete, I am the only one responsible for these pictures. I like that.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I work in a medium called “scratchboard.” I start with a wood panel and cover it with a white coating. I then cover that completely with black ink. When the ink dries, I scratch through it with fine knives to create white lines on a black background.

I create pictures of modern people in the modern world, and both the beauty and angst that go along with it. Our technological world and our place in it are re-occurring themes.

The wood-engravers Lynd Ward and Paul Landacre have had an influence on me, as well as painters Edward Hopper and George Tooker. The great black and white films of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s inspired me too. Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, and film noir play a big part in my work.

Raymond Chandler once said, “You can never know too much about the shadow line and the people who walk it.” I believe that we all walk this line, in the shadows cast by the machinery of the modern age.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
Artists have always had many roles: messenger, spiritual advisor, provocateur, etc. In difficult times, I think it’s important that artists reflect and refract the human condition, break it down to help us arrive at some truth, or perhaps arrive at a personal peace.

While I have done the occasional overtly political piece, I am aware of the temporary nature of politics. Current events affect me, my mood, the way I see things. It can’t help but become part of the art I create. Each piece of my work is keyed to the time in which it was created, even if only in a subtle, tangential way.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’ve shown in many places, including New York, London, San Francisco, and other cities. In Los Angeles, my work can be seen at the Robert Berman Gallery, online at my own website, and at various other shows and galleries around town.

The best way to support any artist you like is to buy their work, of course, but also spread the word. If there is an artist that excites you, tell your friends, drag them to a show or tell a gallery you frequent to consider showing their work.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
David Trulli

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Christy

    February 11, 2019 at 21:29

    Wonderful work. His POV is part documentary part voyeur!

  2. Kate stern

    February 12, 2019 at 08:28

    I love David’s work snd have had the pleasure of working with him on several occasions. He is a gem !

  3. Lori Berberian

    February 12, 2019 at 22:09

    Dave is a true artist in every sense of the word. His talent knows no bounds…his use of light and darkness is provocative and his point of view is always a delight. I love seeing what new images emerge from the pure black sketch boards of David Trulli! If you really want to see talent in person, go see one of his shows so you can see the pieces for yourself!

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