Five questions to David Willburn

Five questions to David Willburn

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David Willburn was born in Fort Stockton, Texas, U.S. in 1970. In 2004 he earned a Master of Fine Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont. He lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas, where he shares a home with his husband and their two dogs. 

How did you get into art?

I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be an artist. My first studio was a small closet in my childhood bedroom. I removed all of my things--clothes, toys, games--and placed a small table, a lamp, and a stool inside. I had paper and my crayons and made drawings in that tiny space. It was wonderful. That was the beginning, I think, of my life as an artist.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

I describe my work as abstract landscape with elements of personal mythology and symbolism woven throughout. i make mixed media paintings about landscapes that I have known, specifically those that have influenced my growth as a person and an artist. My use of materials and constant play and experimentation make the work special to me, and hopefully to others. 

How do you go about developing your work?

I always begin with my sketchbook, which is something i work in every day. The next step involves cleaning my studio; it is like clearing my physical space and mental space at the same time. This helps me make room to work; it also helps me identify materials and tools as I move things around and organize things. 

Who or what influences you?

So many things find their way into my work somehow. My entire history is there. The landscapes of West Texas in the southwestern United States, the social and cultural politics of growing up gay in conservative environments, as well as books and movies and current events: all of these are big ideas that influence and inform my work.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

I am working with a local print shop to enlarge pages from my sketchbooks. Once they are printed on canvas and stretched, i will use additional materials--collage elements, paint, drawing--to develop a much larger and more complex composition. This excites me because the scale is much larger that what I have previously worked with.

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