David Spencer: Feeling Good.
Have you ever been on a blind date? I haven’t but when I arranged to meet artist David Spencer for an interview there was almost a flutter of nerves as I sat there frantically googling him because I realized I wasn't quite sure what he looked like. A fun exchange of “...heyyy are you...” later and I really shouldn't have worried. Funny, handsome and witty - David made one of our favorite interviews to date with our conversation ranging from his fine art training to his traumatic experiences bar tending at Mojos and how having a child is like...the best thing ever (despite him telling me “there is a window so I had best get to it”...in jest I think. I remain skeptical but perhaps more hopeful.)
If you have drunkenly stumbled into Maccas lately and bought a medium fries chances are you are already acquainted with David’s work. Selected as the Australian artist to produce artwork for the McDonalds World Cup merchandise this is a man who's career is only going to sky rocket further and we have the inside goss.
What inspired you to be an artist? It is such a brave thing to go out on a limb and we so applaud you!
Well very early on my mum used to draw when she was on the phone....she used to draw people’s eyes so I guess I sort of started just trying to copy her. From there my primary school art teacher put me into an extra curricular art class and then I went through high school and into Tafe.
What has been a career game changer for you?
I guess my first exhibition. You know if people didn't like it they came up and told me but the overall response was positive and we basically sold everything on the night so if you are willing to open your wallet you must like it.
Tell us about the World Cup?
So I got an email without them telling me anything asking if i was interested...and from there it was coming up with some work and 4am skype meetings and the whole 3 month process was intense. My mum went into McDonalds and asked for my design but they also send me some so (so you don't have to go into McDonalds and get chips?) yeah...no they sent them to me.
We have such amazing artists coming out of WA, what do you think drives that?
Well...we are so small that you get a lot of support from your mates - there are no tall poppies so maybe that is it!
What would you say to a young person looking to invest in art?
Investing in art is so subjective....you have to like it obviously but I would say go to the smaller galleries around Perth...they are filled with young artists and you wont pay more than like 500 bucks for a piece of work so it is such a great way to get into the market.
What challenges have you faced in being a fine artist?
Well I guess, and it is getting better, that as a WA artist sometimes there is this thing where you have to go over to Melbourne and Sydney and be something there before investors will look at you...thats tough with a mortgage and a kid but it is getting better.
Who would be your dream collaboration and why?
Dream collaboration would be between two of my favourite artists. Brett Whitley or Jean Michel Basquiat. But in an effort to answer the question, I think I'll go with JMB. I would have loved to have sat with him after a big night eating late afternoon breakfast. Hang out, draw, watch people, talk, drink coffee, grab some beers and then collaborate in the studio. He wasn't afraid of anything when he painted. Colour, composition and subject were all slaves to his imagination. In his work I see volumes of emotion and hidden stories. I love that. He saw everything as art and I admire his ability to release his creativity in the abstract form. So confident when he pushed and pushed his boundaries. His work holds you in a conversation and I think this is missing in most contemporary art.
Favourite Secret Spot in Perth?
I'm down Freo way, so it's not without envy of all the fabulous bars and cafes that are springing up around the city I choose the X-Wray cafe. It's just one of those places when I'm asked lets go for breakfast, I always seem to nominate. I bump into people there all the time, including the Mayor of Freo for a chat. But I can also grab my favorite beer Estrella, a home made sausage roll, sit with today's paper on the their broad tables and listen to the world work itself out. Coffee is good and the people are good. Double ticks.
David’s 10th Solo exhibition 'This Is How I Feel' is being held at Gallows Gallery and runs from the 4th to the 20th of September Tuesday to Friday 10am - 4.30pm. Pencil it into your diary now folks because this is going to be something special.