Today we’d like to introduce you to David Skillicorn.
David, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I spent several successful decades as a documentary filmmaker traveling the world to over forty countries and framing up literally millions of images in the process. Everything changed in 1998 while filming a master painter at dawn on the shores of Cape Cod. He took out a blank canvas, and with just a few deft strokes, proceeded to make absolute magic. I knew at that moment I had to be a painter. It was not a choice. Trading my camera and gear for brushes and canvas, I have been chasing that magic ever since.
I am a self-taught painter, but that is not to say I don’t work hard and study. After looking at tens of thousands of paintings over the years, and painting close to a thousand myself, I am deeply enmeshed in the process of reaching for something resonant in the work.
I have a big glorious studio in our three-story barn in western Massachusetts, with large windows and views out across our gardens, fields and woods. It is a sanctuary, and a place I can go to get quiet, and go deep into the process of discovering a painting. Sometimes the work comes quickly, but more often than not, the paintings evolve over many layers and many months. While not always successful, in general for me it is a journey filled with joy.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am drawn to abstract painting because it is the most challenging, holds the most mystery for me, and in the end, the most magic. My paintings are not “about” something, or “art objects” per se, as much as they are an opportunity to trigger an emotional response.
I believe that through focused intensive engagement while making a painting, it is possible to imbibe it somehow with a residue of spirit, an intangible essence that gives the work a sense of presence. This can be felt by a sensitive viewer and moves the work toward the realm of art, as opposed to decoration or craft. It’s a prospect worth pursuing with each and every painting.
My process is one of applying paint liberally, carving and digging back into it, and building up layers. The whole time I am utterly engaged with the work and letting my intuition be the primary driving force, although I am also using my training and experience to make hundreds and hundreds of decisions along the way as well.
Through this process of application and excavation I would say that I “find” the painting as much as “make” it. I know the work is done when I stand back and it hits me all at once as being resolved visually and having a strong sense of presence about it. In the end, I hope the work conveys something that is not so much experienced with the mind, as felt with the body…. in an intimate, visceral, and contemplative way.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I subscribe to something the great Giacometti said: “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”
We fail miserably all the time of course, but once in a while something comes through. And that is special. For me, the most important aspects in creating a successful painting is to be completely present while making it, and also to be utterly authentic in your person and your approach every step of the way.
Color, form, value, line, design etc. are also critical in making a painting of course, but without these other attributes, something is missing. In the end, it’s about trying to imbibe the work with a sense of presence, a bit of soul. It’s not that a viewer would necessarily feel my soul when looking at the paintings, but they just might experience something where they feel theirs. That is the point really of any art, to trigger an emotional experience, and that is what I love about it.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I am currently showing at the following galleries: Diana Felber Gallery in the Berkshires (https://www.dianafelbergallery.com/skillicorn). Paula Estey Gallery in Newburyport (http://www.paulaesteygallery.com/david-skillicorn). Paul Mahder Gallery in the heart of wine country north of SF (http://www.paulmahdergallery.com/intro.htm). I also show occasionally in juried gallery and museum shows. A lot of additional information and many more paintings can be found on my website: www.davidskillicorn.com
- Website: www.davidskillicorn.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/davidskillicorn/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/david.skillicorn.16
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/skillicorn1
All images by David Skillicorn, copyright 2018/