David Skillicorn

Skillicorn portrait 2 - Copy -   Copy.jpg

My path into painting has been an unusual one.

The Azeri pilot’s bomb destroyed a building just a few blocks from where the President of Nagorno-Karabakh was receiving us. I knew I wasn’t in Kansas any more. I was there filming a documentary about a humanitarian effort bringing infant formula in to mothers cut off from the outside world and trapped in war.

Filming documentaries for many years in every corner of the globe was an unusually intensive engagement with life, and a deeply visual one. Over time I composed more than one million images exploring textures of culture and landscape, and came to visually perceive the world in terms of pure color, shape, and contrast.

Everything changed in 1998 while filming a master painter at dawn on the shores of Cape Cod. He took out a blank canvas, and with just a few deft strokes, proceeded to make absolute magic. I knew at that moment I had to be a painter. It was not a choice. Trading my camera and gear for brushes and canvas, I have been chasing that magic ever since.

I am drawn to abstract painting because it is the most challenging, holds the most mystery for me, and in the end, the most magic. My paintings are not “about” something, or “art objects” per se, as much as they are an opportunity to trigger an emotional response.

I believe that through focused intensive engagement while making a painting, it is possible to imbibe it somehow with a residue of spirit, an intangible essence that gives the work a sense of presence. This can be felt by a sensitive viewer and moves the work toward the realm of art, as opposed to decoration or craft. It’s a prospect worth pursuing with each and every painting.

My process is one of applying paint liberally, carving and digging back into it, and building up layers. The whole time I am utterly engaged with the work and letting my intuition be the primary driving force, although I am also using my training and experience to make hundreds and hundreds of decisions along the way as well.

Through this process of application and excavation I would say that I “find” the painting as much as “make” it. I know it’s done when I stand back and it hits me all at once as being resolved visually and having a strong sense of presence about it. In the end, I hope the work conveys something that is not so much experienced with the mind, as felt with the body.....      in an intimate visceral, and contemplative way.