“Images have the power to persuade and cajole, so I have always been drawn to using that power to communicate,” says African American artist Dave McClinton.
African American artist Dave McClinton owes most of his artistic influence to the decades he spent as a graphic designer. His relationship with art started as a kid when he continually found himself examining comic books, album covers, and magazines. “I’m either decorating with landscapes or speaking on cultural issues with human figures and faces,” says Dave.
With a degree in visual communication from Texas State University, Dave McClinton communicates his experiences and that of others through his art. “The figures and faces are a mixture of people in my life,” says Dave. “They are every person, they are me and anyone who has struggled to solidify their existence in this world.”
The Unique Quality of an African American Artist
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The artistic process of an African American artist
Each piece he says begins by applying layers upon layers of information, not intended to obscure but to mimic his brain’s activity. “I suspect we all bring our own ‘layers’ to the events and visuals we encounter and that’s where the good stories are,” says Dave. That’s where our own vision governs our relationship with the art.
He describes his art as a figurative and portrait style of art dealing in expressive surrealism. “I want to show you something familiar, then alter your perspective,” Dave explains. “This isn’t to be dismissive of your opinion but to enhance how you might perceive the subject matter.”
Influences and mentors
The print industry was a huge influence. He’s always loved to examine comic books, album covers, and anything printed. Additionally, conscious music alongside conscious storytellers provides a great deal of influence on his work.
Speaking of mentors, Dave gives credit to his design professor, Bradford Lawton, who taught him how to seek visual connections. His painting/drawing professor, Carole Greer, showed him how to free his thinking to achieve the best results.
Dave is working towards a solo show involving 25 new themed pieces for which he hopes to find a home in 2022.
Dave wants to be remembered as an artist who activated the viewers’ empathy. And he describes how he intends to illustrate the innermost life of black people, from the innocent to the defiant.
To see Dave’s latest artwork, visit Saatchi Art >
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