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Check Out David Amsellem’s Story

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

Hi David, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have been drawing from a very young age. I found myself drawing with pencil on paper or ink on paper for as long as I can remember. Over the past several decades I have been painting with watercolor and it has been pure joy. I have had the benefit of meeting, collaborating, rubbing elbows, and befriending so many artists in my community of different experiences, opposed ideas, contrasting backgrounds, and individual stories. I consider myself especially lucky to be a part of this spectacular artist environment. Sharing my art experience with people of all kinds and unrelated backgrounds but with a similar passion of creating with watercolor has been immensely beneficial and encourages me to look at things differently, to constantly question my process and what I want out of a painting. I feel completely respected and supported as an artist in this environment that encouraged me to try new things, to learn and grow, to continue to produce good work, and most importantly, to eventually find my own process. I am so happy to have found my pathway through a vibrant and rich art community here in Arizona. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
As I mentioned, I began with either pencil on paper or ink on paper. Eventually, I wanted to venture off into color and I thought I would pick a very easy medium, …. watercolor. Well, little did I know, watercolor is one of the more difficult mediums of choice and I struggled through it at first, however, it is a magical medium to me and I have found that I continue to learn and understand its magic over time. I am now experimenting a bit with ‘water media’, pure pigment, water-based inks, gouache, fluid acrylics …. basic water media, however, I always gravitated to completing a project with pure watercolor. I would consider my path a smooth road because of the amount of joy that painting brings me. The struggle would be finding the time to put down on paper all of the ideas and projects I have in my head. If we could somehow invent a 36-hour day, I think I would be OK, TEE HEE! 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I primarily paint people. I work exclusively from a direct observation of my subject over an extended period of time. I develop something in mind well before I start my watercolor process, it is a very personal experience for me. At some point in the planning process, something will register in my mind or in the process itself. It could be a specific feeling, a distinct gesture, a particular arrangement of colors, a certain mood … it could be ANYTHING. At that point, I will be responsive and engaged with the work by using all the technical tools and ideas I have in my possession as needed for each painting. None of the work will look photographic. I try to refine it in an artistic language of my own, in a way that no camera would ever be able to capture. My paintings are primarily a basic depiction of the ordinary. There are important sets of elements that I include to make my paintings work in an attempt to create a captivating image; pictorial concerns, composing an underlying abstraction/color/value structure, and always having a strong emotional presence. Most of the time it is great if one or two of those elements works well. When all of those elements come together to work well it is magical!! 

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I will use the old saying; ‘The only guarantee is that there will be changes!!’ -Those changes can already be seen, both wonderful and terrible. There are always new approaches and new ideas in art, as there should be (Digital Art, NFT’s..etc..), however, they bring with them a temporary view that “painting is dead”, and there are reasonable arguments against how relevant the medium is as a tool of the avant-garde. This idea, (that painting is dead), has been repeated and recycled endlessly as new mediums have worked their way into and out of the spotlight, but painting isn’t likely to be going anywhere. It’s so interesting to see how artists respond to these changes, as well as what purpose art serves, now and in the future. My hopes are that in the future art will become increasingly diverse and might not ‘look like art’ as we expect. I further hope that in the future, once we’ve become weary of our lives being visible online for all to see and our privacy has been all but lost, anonymity may be more desirable than fame. Instead of thousands, or millions, of likes and followers, we will be starved for authenticity and connection. This connection with art could, in turn, become more collective and experiential, rather than individual. 

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