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Conversations with Dave Tourjé

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Tourjé.

Hi Dave, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve been an artist my whole life, showing in galleries since the mid-80s. In 1998 I bought an old estate home in South Pasadena that turned out to be the former home of the legendary art educator Nelbert Chouinard who founded the Chouinard Art Institute which became the California Institute of the Arts. From there, I co-founded the Chouinard Foundation with Robert Perine and many Chouinard alum. I created a large Advisory Board of Chouinard people and I became particularly aligned with Chaz Bojórquez, John Van Hamersveld, Norton Wisdom and Gary Wong due to our shared experiences growing up in subculture LA- Surf, Skate, Graffiti and Punk. As we would meet, more ideas sparked that eventually led to the formation of our group known now as the California Locos.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Ha! Smooth? Nothing good is ever smooth! Aside from some of the great people I met while pushing Chouinard back into the public eye, the whole effort could have been considered a waste, but that’s a longer story. Bottom line is the California Locos make all the trouble worth it to me at this point.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Well, I’m a musician and an artist. I became an artist very early in life and as a teenager picked up guitar. Being an avid skateboarder and surfer, my approach to everything has been inherently rebellious, you could say, so I never totally fit into the educational or commercial establishments, though I did attend art and music schools. You could say I preferred Mad Magazine over Monet, free jazz over pop music. I always worked construction with my musician friends and never needed to make a living from my art which kept me completely independent to this day. It’s the independence that allows for pushing boundaries in art and very few artists can do that. I only could because I operate outside of the system for all the good and the bad.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
In art, you need to know why you are doing it and constantly remind yourself of that because the challenges to your pursuit will be relentless. If you want to make a living from it, then embrace that and enter the commercial system and go all out. If culture is your reasoning, then figure out any way you can to survive and to give your creativity a home. Many artists lose sight of why they do it, going more towards the attention, commercial and social media stuff, but if you don’t pay your dues pushing yourself as a pure artist, you’ll probably not ultimately do well with that either. So it gets back to YOU. What are you trying to do? What are you trying to say? You find that in yourself and in your studio, and that takes years to understand, so you might as well get busy!

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Instagram: @californialocos
  • Facebook: Californialocos
  • Youtube: California Locos

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