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Meet David Donald Sutherland

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Donald Sutherland.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. From there, I joined the Coast Guard after graduating high school. In the Coast Guard, I was stationed in Port Arthur TX as well as Galveston. I was a Marine Science Technician third class petty officer. After the coast guard, I packed up all my belongings and drove to California where I’ve lived since. I attended school briefly, but in deciding to partake in creative endeavors, I found I couldn’t do either thing half way and hence began my life as a full-time artist. At first, I took jobs in other creative fields, mostly film. Slowly but surely, life as a painter became more sustainable, and I was able to refine my focus until I was able to make a living on only my paintings which was about four years ago.

Please tell us about your art.
I mostly make paintings, though sometimes I work in other mediums when I’m feeling the need to shake things up a bit. Paintings are my central focus and certainly what I believe best articulates my creative ambitions. They are abstract works which play between a few different schools of painting, but certainly they are most reminiscent of abstract expressionism aesthetically. They are the products of an act of catharsis, and as the medium is sometimes unpredictably responsive to input, they also direct themselves, or more some in a way. I build them balancing the color through the manipulation of fluid movements. Each layer and movement build on the last until the colors and shape balance in a sort of violent harmony at which point, I leave them to rest. In my mind certain parts depict figures, some benign objects and others backgrounds and foregrounds. I like to think the energies play off each other and depict past present and potential future transferences which leave the viewer with a sensation of being lost to their own achieved catharsis. It is by this thought that I believe through each viewing the pieces continue to evolve and therefore remain timeless in nature.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Be a good person to those around you and hope that they support you in the rough times. I owe an infinite amount of gratitude to the people in my life, mostly friends I’ve made along the way. I was house insecure for years, there were a lot of days where I’ve struggled to find money for a proper meal, sometimes I’d come up short. I’m doing alright now, and the times I’ve gone without help me not take that for granted. I wish there was some real advice I could give, but the reality is you’re willing to sacrifice everything to do what you love or you hit a wall and get a “real job”. There aren’t really any half measures to take if you want to be successful as well as retain your integrity in this world of things.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
At the moment I’m not attached to any one gallery, though there is something in the works for next year. So as not to date this, I would mostly refer people to my website or Instagram account where they can keep track of upcoming shows that I’ll be participating in. As for support, all I ask is for people to give the work a moments evaluation, love it, hate it, and maybe share it with someone else, with what’s beyond my control I am not very concerned, any form of appreciation is all the support you can hope for in my mind.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mia Maguire

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