1. Welcome David to The Influx Gallery family. Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
Thank you, it’s great to be part of the family. My name is David Kirkman, I am 38 years young. I was born in Leigh-on-sea, Essex, UK and now live down the road in Rochford. I decided to become a professional artist in 2022, after years of wondering, ‘is it possible’ to make my passion a job? I have a wife, two young boys and a dog who all continue to keep me on my toes. Previously, I worked in the property industry and then in the mental health space. I have a home studio where I create my pieces. I have exhibited across the UK, in Art Fairs and online and my work has been featured in art magazines.
2. Were your family supportive of you deciding to become an artist?
My family is very supportive. Becoming an artist is a fantastic career but it is also very hard work. You need to have thick skin, so having good support around you is vital.
3. Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become an artist?
I have painted from a young age. My late grandad introduced to and taught me the basics of painting. My Mum and Auntie are both local artists, so art is very much in my blood. My style changed to abstract painting around 4 years ago. It becamse a way to manage my mental health as it provided a way for me to be mindful. The reason I took the leap into becoming an artist when I did, was down to timing. I left my previous role as I wanted a new challenge and as my art work was being well received and selling, I decided to make my passion my career.
4. Did your schooling or work affect your creative development in any way?
I have an A-level in Art, but never pursued a degree in it. Personally, I found education to be limiting and focused more on research than personal expression. I know many artists who love to practice, sketch and research to create their artwork, for me this is not my process. The reason I paint is to be free, so my canvas is my sketch pad. I would say, my art education did help me identify what I love about art and this helped me to discover and develop my style.
5. Where do you get your inspiration and influences from?
My inspiration comes from wanting to promote positivity, joy and wellness. My own battles with mental health means I use these experiences to create art work that will help others. When creating my original abstract paintings my process is organic. The one decision I make is what colour palette I will be using but other than that I am in the moment when I paint. The theme running through all my work is contrast, either in colour, tone, shape or texture. My limited edition prints use these abstract paintings as backgrounds ,the inspiration here is to use characters that reflect mental health and positivity.
6. Do you have a favourite painting technique?
I am currently developing an ‘Abstreet’ style, a combination of abstract and street art. I outline the marks on the canvas with acrylic paint pens. These paintings are full of bright and neon colours and so fun to create.
7. We love how your abstract painting was formed by the genesis of mental health struggles?
Do you consider your art as a form of therapy?
Absolutely, my art is a therapeutic outlet. Many of us live busy lives and it is rare that we take a moment to reflect on what we are doing, to be in the moment. To have a way to leave your thoughts and concerns of the day at the door and have a moment to escape is fantastic for my mental health. This is what my art allows me to achieve.
8. What was your most enjoyable artwork to create/construct?
My work will reflect how I feel so I enjoy them all, as they are all facilitating what I need as an artist at the time. However, the painting the comes to mind is my most recent piece, ‘Costa Rica’. This is a 100 x 100cm painting, embracing the versatility of acrylic paint. I loved using all the bright colours and really found myself lost in the moment while creating it.
9. We love your use of acrylics in your mixed media based pop art masterpieces. Do you have any tips for someone picking up a paint brush for the first time?
Thank you, I love creating these pieces. My advice would be to have fun and experiment. When some people paint they worry about making a mistake or spoiling a piece, but we only learn through this. Always keep in mind that you can paint over part or all of a painting, so do not get stuck with the worry of messing it up.
10. Do you collect art, or have a favourite artist that you admire the work of?
I do have a painting by an artist called Renshaw, which is very different to my own style. An artist I admire is Gerhard Richter, he successfully creates amazing pieces in a wide variety of styles and mediums. He is ridiculously talented.
11. Your large scale paintings radiate positivity, the colours and composition being vibrant and joyous. How long does it take to finish one of your paintings?
Abstract art is interesting as there is no obvious finish line, sometimes a piece can materialise quite quickly other times it may take a while. Once I think a piece is getting close to being finished, I will live with it for a period of time to see if it is balanced or needs more work. I paint in sessions of generally 4 – 6 hours and a piece might take between 2 – 5 days to complete.
12. Thanks a lot for your valuable time and interest. You can include any other details you want to talk about here?
Thanks for all the great questions. If one of my painting allows the viewer to lose themselves for a moment, then I feel I have succeeded.