Apples, bananas and eggs abound in the work of David Anderson. Featuring block colours, sliced up segments and geometric interpretations of a classic piece of fruit, the Tennessee-born painter has created scenes that are equally familiar as they are of the surreal.
“These are foods I’ve been eating on a daily basis for several years, I’m not really sure how long,” explains David. Clearly turning to his immediate surroundings for artistic inspiration, he takes the classic still life of an everyday fruit bowl to the next level. “I started to realise that they are very much agents of my life and energy sources for my creative exploration, so I wanted to pay homage in some way.”
An ode to fruit, David’s work is driven by a creative mindset and a desire to paint the everyday. Going back to where it all began, he tells us how his mother is French and her father is Algerian from Jewish heritage – she moved from Paris to America and went to art school in Florida. David’s dad “lived all over America”, including the south and central zones, “because his father was in the US air force.” Coincidentally – just like his mother – he also went to art school in Florida, “and there my parents met.” David adds: “I always had a creative upbringing that was encouraged – but not in a too profoundly celebrated way.”
After graduating from Watkins College of Art with the Anny Gowa Purchase Award in 2016, he proceeded to have work exhibited nationally, which includes shows at ZieherSmith in New York, the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Centre, Patrick Painter Gallery in Los Angeles, as well as Zeitgeist Gallery and Elephant Gallery in Nashville. Alongside this, he co-curates an artist-run space called Mid Climate and is the founder and curator of Electric Shed – a gallery space located in Nashville.
David has a firm foot in the art world. And rather than attempting to depict abstract, otherworldly objects or scenarios pulled from the hidden depths of his imagination, he likes to gravitate more towards a realistic translation. “Little by little, I wanted to create a practice for myself that allowed my inner visions and dreams to have a form. But this was to happen through everyday images, so as not to cling too much to an abstraction and not too much to an actual thing,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I listen and watch how nature works, and I started using things I would eat everyday as a way to look into the energetic nature of reality and the forms these would construct. Painting about them revealed mysteries and unseen things, so I plan to continue to explore this territory.”
Beginning his day in the studio tucked in the basement of his house, David explains how, with a coffee in hand, he would take a moment to look around at what’s happening. He tends to have several paintings, sculptures, collages and drawings on the go, so a quick morning brief might seem more than necessary. “I’ve been slowly working on a drawing for a large seven-foot painting, while in the mean time doing medium-sized paintings,” he says. Then, his process begins with either drawing or writing, collecting objects on a walk and switching on a suitable soundtrack – “I always need music that has some spirit to it, not too wild but not too drudging, but lately I’ve been fine with silence.”
To David, a successful or “complete” piece of art is something that his audience has interacted with – “both with their eyes, mind and their personal experiences or interpretations.” Likening his works to an enigma, David concludes: “I want to only prompt others to their own personal ideas, I have no set message or agenda other than to start a dialogue and prompt people to engage themselves with a mystery.”