ABOUT THE ARTIST

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Morrisville, NC, United States
My wife Emily and I currently live in Morrisville, NC with our son Evan. In July of 2010 my life changed dramatically when Emily and I adopted our beloved son. As a consequence of this life change I have not updated this blog for a long time. As Evan has grown, and new expenses have been introduced, I have decided to again accept commissions from those of you who would like to have original work done. You may request work by contacting me at davemyers1977@gmail.com, and I am also beginning a new website to promote this service at artisservantportraitsandmore.blogspot.com - I currently charge $225 for 11x14 drawings and $175 for 8x10s. I sell prints of my work (either from this site or the new one) for $25 11x14 and $20 for 8x10. I hope that you will enjoy the works here displayed, that you will visit my new site, and that you will contact me with your comments at davemyers1977@gmail.com - Dec 30 2011

Monday, May 25, 2009

SAINT AUSTIN REVIEW MAY/JUNE 2009: ARTICLE FEATURING MY WORK



I am so excited to be able to share with you a great opportunity that I recently had to have my work featured in the cultural magazine “Saint Austin Review,” which is published by Ave Maria University and edited by Joseph Pearce. I was able to meet Professor Pearce at the Ignited By Truth Catholic Conference this year, and shared a portrait of him that I completed for the conference. He was EXTREMELY gracious and complimentary of my work and asked if he might contact me to do an interview with me for this magazine. Above are the first two pages. (The third follows) Below is the interview.

Joseph Pearce: We met at this year's Ignited by Truth conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, at which 2,500 enthusiastic Catholics heard a number of talks centred on the need to evangelize today's secular culture. What are your views on the evangelizing power of beauty?

David Myers: As you noted in your wonderful talk on this subject, beauty pierces the hearts of people rather than their thought, and is therefore very important if the culture we live in is to be drawn to the truth. This is especially true now when the arguments of those who oppose Gospel values are founded so often on emotional arguments that are not arguments at all. The emotive impact of audio and/or visual art that is at once beautiful, well informed by the Gospels, and tailored to the attention span of our culture, can be a spark or a catalyst that leads towards conversion. The most powerful recent example of such art's power to turn the heart and mind of a debased culture to the Lord has to be Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." The Gospels, like their Author, are deeply beautiful. Saint John's Gospel is perhaps the most beautiful and certainly the most poetic. "We saw His glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth." The beauty of Christ, of His teaching, and especially of His Love, drew the world to Him.

JP: As an artist, how do you see the role of the visual arts in evangelizing today's culture?

DM: As (I think) Saint Therese says of the prayers she made to God, artists of every discipline have the ability to "shoot little arrows of beauty" into the hearts of people, hopefully ones that will remind them of all that they may have believed to be lost. In a world bombarded by grotesque images, perverted images, and meaningless images, it is the artist's calling to communicate in his art the true, the good, and the beautiful. When he does this, casting his pearls out into the darkness, prodigal sons unknown to him may leave the husks and the swine, and turn towards this new "epiphany of beauty" that they have either forgotten, ignored, or been robbed of. 80% of the Billboards you will see on your drive home are the darkness. True Christian art, in paint, stone, glass, film and song, is the light.

JP: What is the role of the Catholic artist in today's culture? What do you perceive your own vocation to be? What is the nature of your relationship with God in connection to your creative work?

DM: I have come to believe that to be an artist means to be a servant of all, and especially of God. "Art for art's sake" is a blasphemous term in my opinion. This servanthood is true in all aspects of the artists work from the earliest days of his development to the maturity of his skill, for in order to communicate (which all true art must) to an audience, the artist must be obedient to what he sees, for it is in the created world that the artist will find his vocabulary for communicating inspiration to a hungry world. I love the words that are put into Raphael's mouth when he speaks to Michelangelo in the film "The Agony and the Ecstacy:" "But what are we artists but harlots, peddling beauty at the doorsteps of the mighty?" Those who would put the word "elite" next to art have lost the true meaning and purpose of art. This is why my site has as its address "artisservant.blogspot.com “artisservant.blogspot.com." Because art IS servant.
I firmly believe that art is meant to serve others, especially in lifting the hearts of people, through "ephiphanies of beauty," (John Paul II's letter to artists) to the contemplation and the glory of God. The artist participates in a unique way in the inspiration of the Creator of all things, and knows something of His joy in the act of creation, for "the act of creation is an act of love."(The Agony and the Ecstacy) This act is essentially bound up with the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, in which what had been invisible was made visible in His person, His life and work, and finally in His death and resurrection. The artist is exhorted by the very perception of his gift to its service. Art is not merely, nor should it ever be, a vehicle for selfish ends or cheap shock and awe, but it must seek to give joy to the lives of others. The artist is then in the end merely a servant of truth, beauty, and goodness, and his work must serve to convey these to a wider audience. "Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 15-16)I believe that the artist finds in the lives of Jesus, and of His foster father Joseph, essential role models, especially in their hidden life at Nazareth. Though very little is handed down to us in the Gospels or in tradition illuminating this period in Jesus' life, I believe that this hidden, simple, carpenter's life of "working quietly" (2 Thessalonians 3:11) can be a model for all artists, in which delight is daily sought in the manifestation of beauty in wood, paint, charcoal, dance, the stage, and music. This is a life of humility, where the artist freely accepts that this world, including his own work, "will pass away," (Matt. 24:35) but what it points to never will. Obedience to inspiration, especially as it is inspired by God's Word (itself the revelatory self-expression of God) is the artist's highest calling.

JP: Who has been particularly influential in your own development as an artist?

DM: There are so many people, both the heroes that I have never met but studied, and those that I have had the blessing to call my friends. Of the latter group, I would place my Art History professors at the front of the lineup. Dr. Kemille Moore, Dr. John Myers, and in a special way, Dr. Anthony F. Janson (of Janson's History of Art) each helped me to experience more richly than I could in any studio the highest ideals of art, as well as its greatest achievements. Their love for art was communicated to me, along with my own growing awareness of what moved me most in art. It is this that I aspire to communicate in my work. I am indebted also to Leslie, my babysitter, who, when I was in first grade, inspired me to pick up my pencil and draw. My favorite artist of all history is Michelangelo, but I must qualify this answer. For the "Michelangelo" I refer to are actually two Michelangelos, one being the most famous, the other being Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. I believe that both artists have deeply influenced my own work and my made me aware of the subtleties that make for meaningful, compelling art, as well as the more verbose elements that give it fire, passion, and the ability to expand the horizons of others. I am most recently indebted to the work and the advice of Cameron Smith, a great Catholic artist, who, in one conversation, completely revolutionized my drawing technique. It is as "clear as the summer sun" to anyone who looks that my work owes as much to Cameron as the work of Raphael did to that of Michelangelo. Last, but certainly not least, I owe so much to my good wife, who puts up with the ungodly hours of the artist, the all nighters, and the hours stolen from her to contribute to my growing body of work. She teaches me daily what it means to sacrifice for those we love, and to make their dreams our own.

JP: Your excellent website (www.artisservant.blogspot.com) highlights a cross-section of your work, including portraits of contemporary Catholics and portraits of the saints. Why were you inspired to work in portraiture in particular?

DM: Unfortunately, being an art history major and being lazy combined in my college years to prevent me from developing very much in the areas of painting and sculpture. However, I did develop and gain some mastery in life drawing. Professor Donald Furst taught me how to draw from life and to be obedient to what my eye saw before me. He also gave me the very best advice I have ever received in the area of art. I was blessed to receive a scholarship to study in Rome for a summer, and Professor Furst told me: "Take a sketchbook with you. Resist the temptation to snap photos and move on. Each day pick something, a statue or other work of art, that you will commit to sit down in front of and draw. You will forget so much about the photographs, but you will remember everything you experienced when you were drawing." He was so right about this, and this experience of drawing for a full month in Italy taught me more about drawing and what was possible for this medium than any of the classes I had attended. Ultimately, I work in portraiture and life drawing because it is the skill I have been able (I believe) to master to an extent that makes me capable of producing "fine art" in charcoal and graphite. It is very important for the artist to be able to convey the good and the true in the most beautiful way possible. This is why I choose the most suitable way my skill and my training currently affords me.

JP: I was particularly struck by your artistic representation of the Stations of the Cross. Could you explain your relationship, as an artist, with such monumental spiritual themes? Is there something truly spiritual, or even prayerful, in the creative process when working on such themes?

DM: Without a doubt. I began working on the Stations of the Cross over four years ago at the beginning of Lent. You will remember that this was wen the Passion of the Christ came to the theaters. I was so moved by this MASTERPIECE, that I felt compelled to make the drawing of the stations part of my Lenten journey, directly inspired by the film. I got pretty far that first Lent, but did not complete the stations. Those first stations and those that followed opened my awareness to the power of art to move the heart of the artist who makes it as well as his audience. Each station became a desert in which I could walk and think about the subject I was illustrating, and it was always a contemplative experience. Each Lent the wave came closer to the shore, until in this past year I was able to complete the project. The final series is somewhat motley, as it draws from several different sources, including some works by Tissot and Caravaggio. It also serves as a visual biography of the development of my style as I have slowly over the last four years left charcoal behind to focus almost exclusively on works in graphite. It is profoundly humbling to undertake the illustration of Christ's life or any given aspect of it, and I find that I get so much more out of the beautiful experience of drawing such themes than my audience does, or seems to. "We saw His Glory, the Glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."

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I appreciate your time and your interest in my work. If you are interested in knowing more about me and my philosophy of art, please feel free to scroll to the bottom of this page. I would rather spare those who have no interest in such things from having to read about me before looking at my work. God bless you :)

The Vocation of the Artist

I firmly believe that art is meant to serve others, especially in lifting the hearts of people, through "ephiphanies of beauty," (John Paul II's letter to artists) to the contemplation and the glory of God. The artist participates in a unique way in the inspiration of the Creator of all things, and knows something of His joy in the act of creation, for "the act of creation is an act of love."(The Agony and the Ecstacy) This act is essentially bound up with the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, in which what had been invisible was made visible in His person, His life and work, and finally in His death and resurrection. The artist is exhorted by the very perception of his gift to its service. Art is not merely, nor should it ever be, a vehicle for selfish ends or cheap shock and awe, but it must seek to give joy to the lives of others. The artist is then in the end merely a servant of truth, beauty, and goodness, and his work must serve to convey these to a wider audience. "Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 15-16)I believe that the artist finds in the lives of Jesus, and of His foster father Joseph, essential role models, especially in their hidden life at Nazareth. Though very little is handed down to us in the Gospels or in tradition illuminating this period in Jesus' life, I believe that this hidden, simple, carpenter's life of "working quietly" (2 Thessalonians 3:11) can be a model for all artists, in which delight is daily sought in the manifestation of beauty in wood, paint, charcoal, dance, the stage, and music. This is a life of humility, where the artist freely accepts that this world, including his own work, "will pass away," (Matt. 24:35) but what it points to never will. Obedience to inspiration, especially as it is inspired by God's Word (itself the revelatory self-expression of God) is the artist's highest calling. This new site is dedicated to this higher calling of the artist, to this challenge.

You will find included in this site examples of my own work, as well as links to other sites which
celebrate the arts, and especially challenge the artist to reach the fullness of his own abilities
in the service of something greater than him or his work. I hope that you will enjoy this site, and
take full advantage of its links, especially the Letter to Artists of our Holy Father (of beloved memory) John Paul II. Thank you for your comments and your consideration of this website.

David Myers