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Meet David Howler

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

David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was young I always enjoyed drawing, I think my earliest memory of drawing is when I was in kindergarten. My teacher asked everyone to draw their favorite dessert and I drew an ice cream sundae, and when I looked up from my desk there were about 5 to 10 kids standing around my desk watching me. A few of them asked me if I would draw their dessert too, it made me really nervous.

Years later when I was in high school, I was caught drawing I’m my classes all the time, I never really took an art class. Originally I wanted to become a tattoo artist so I would practice drawing up some pretty bad sleeves on myself and other friends at school. I would also draw all over my backpacks and other friends backpacks, even hats. I was really into skating so I would draw characters from different skateboard brands. I was never really good at skating so I picked up music instead. Then I began drawing flyers for the events the band I was performing in would play.

After high school, I started going to school for music and didn’t draw as much, but still played in bands. I wanted to take an art class too just to keep up with my drawings, but I wasn’t planning on taking it seriously. The main band I was in, none of the other members really took it seriously, so I was kind of falling away from wanting to pursue music. I soon realized that my passion can’t be someone else hobby. One semester, I tried taking a guitar class that interfered with the art class I was trying to take. The guitar teacher asked, in a dad rock kind of tone, “well do you wanna draw or do you wanna play some rock n roll,” I stopped going to the guitar class and picked up some art classes. I wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to do with art, and I was in and out of tattooing, so I started taking some graphic design classes.

From there I started taking animation classes, but would always have an open tab with an artist speed painting video playing. The artist I watched most was Lora Zombie, her videos have always inspired me to paint, but at the time I was only drawing with pencil and felt really intimidated to pick up a brush. Some random day my dad gave me a present my grandma wanted to give to me. it was a small box with some old brushes and watercolor paints she picked up from some yard sale. I picked up those brushes and put them to use on some cardboard I would collect for other drawings I would work on, after that I was addicted and always painting, I even tried making a few speed painting videos of myself too. After a few animation classes, I realized that I just want to paint, it wasn’t until I was about 25 when I realized that, so did my animation professor. I asked him for advice one day and he told me that school probably isn’t for me that with art, I should just get my foot in the door and pursue painting. So that’s what I did.

I would paint all the time and then when Instagram happened, I saw it as a place to begin posting my work, and after using that as my platform I started networking with other artists who wanted to work together. I was painting murals, and showing my paintings here and there. A few years later I met my friend Kat Bing painting a mural next to her on top of a mountain at a music festival. We ran into each other again a week later and met our friend Leslie in Space while painting a friend’s car during a music event. We decided to start working together and painting live at music festivals. I would build our canvas, most the time being 4’x8′ big, and we would throw them on top of Leslie’s truck and go on little road trips to the different festivals and paint live. Sometimes the three of us would go out at night and put up posters using wheatpaste in different parts of LA.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all, like many others, I deal with a lot of depression and when I’m not painting it just gets worse and I fall into this dark place. I try to pull myself out of that as much as I can and when I am painting consistently that’s when I’m happiest and I get this crazy momentum like an avalanche of ideas I can’t keep up with. I also compare myself to a lot of my favorite artist and I get a little too hard on myself. There have been times I rip up a canvas and throw it away. I think I’m so hardest on myself so that I don’t let other people’s negative opinions get to me, which they often use to. In my last relationship, I felt like I was always trying to impress someone I gave too much power for opinion too. So now I make sure I’m the one in control. It’s probably not the healthiest way to take control but it’s what works for me at the moment.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
I paint. I like to consider myself an artist and it took a lot to just be able to word that and proclaim myself as one. I enjoy painting portraits of mostly women and children and I like to portray them through religious and political concepts. A lot of my pieces are feminist pieces that tell stories of how our society silently holds down women and minorities, and take advantage of a sponge-like brain a child can have. I think feminism tells the story for most minorities, and I highlight and compact it behind, and with, the term.

There’s not much I’m proud of with the way I compare myself to the artist I aspire to be, but I can’t say I don’t get a rush of joy when I see people offended by my work. It makes me feel a special way and knowing I spoke for myself and the others who actually understand, and experience, what I go through daily makes me feel some kind of proud.

I don’t know what sets me apart from other artists, we all have our own hustle. I try to keep my blinders on and move forward for myself, obviously, I compare, but I try to focus on myself and what I can do better.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Happiness. I don’t chase my passion for money if it follows then that’s cool, but I dive into what I do because its what makes me happiest. Money is everywhere and can be made in so many different ways, but painting is what I do for myself because it makes me feel good. success is doing what you love every day. If I can afford to eat and pay rent while I painting the way I see the world, then I’m already in my heaven.

Contact Info:

  • Website: DavidHowler.com
  • Email: DaveyHowler@gmail.com
  • Instagram: DavidHowler


Image Credit:
David Howler

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