I am excited this week to be interviewing our first painter. (hopefully more to come soon!) David is the brother of a very good friend of mine, and his paintings are just beautiful. I feel like when I look at his portraits I want to know more about the people, there is a depth to them that draws you in, and starts telling a story. Read on to find out more about David and his incredible work.
Where do you live and how do you think it influences your work?I live in Kenya, although we also spend a lot of time in London these days.
Kenya has had a huge influence on my work. I moved there from London looking for a place to live that would allow me the space to teach myself to paint. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for Kenya.
As a portrait painter Kenya surrounds me with the most inspiring, characterful faces to paint.
How would you describe what you do?I'm a figurative painter. I mostly paint people. I try to capture more of the people that I paint than just their likeness, I try to paint a little of their mood and personality.
What are your tricks for getting inspired when you have a creative block?Go back to the sketch book! Forget the bigger projects and go to work on some smaller pieces. Work on something that you can start and finish in one go, then discard it and do the same the next day.
Once you're ready to go back to the larger projects, ask yourself if you actually like and believe in what you're doing. If you wouldn't want the painting that you're working on to hang on your own wall then maybe you shouldn't be doing it.
What is your favourite project/piece that you have worked on and why?We've recently had a baby girl. During the pregnancy I worked on a series of self portraits which included my wife's pregnant tummy. I guess the paintings are a kind of family portrait. Painting these portraits was a way of preparing myself for being a dad.
If you could learn a new skill what would it be?I'd like to know mechanics, that would be so useful in Kenya. I'd like to speak really good Swahili too.
What is your favourite song right now?Having a two month old baby the only song that comes to mind is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! You discover hidden depths to that song when you sing it over and over again at four in the morning!
Which designers/artists/photographers get you super inspired and excited?I love the photographs of Irving Penn. He did a series of black and white portraits called Small Trades that I love.
How do you relax and unwind?I like to cook, even after the longest, most frustrating day it's refreshing to chop an onion and brown it in the pan.
If we finish work before the sun sets then we often go on a game drive and watch the sunset with a cold beer surrounded by giraffes and elephants.
What is your top tip for life?Two tips: You're nothing special and you'll never regret your integrity.