David Ledger is an artist based in Western Australia, with a specialization in oil painting. From his earliest years, the impulse to create has always been an integral part of who he is. Even as a child, he found himself irresistibly drawn to the captivating interplay of forms, colors, and patterns. This intrinsic fascination guided his educational path, with the completion of a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University. Seeking to further develop his skills, David embarked on a transformative experience studying classical drawing and painting at the Florence Classical Art Academy in Italy. Over the years, his artwork has been showcased not only in various exhibitions throughout Australia but also internationally, including solo exhibitions held in Perth and Hong Kong.
As an artist, he is deeply rooted in the utilization of traditional media and techniques, finding solace in the timeless beauty they offer. However, what truly captivates David is the exploration of the interplay between material and metaphysical planes. His work often delves into the intriguing connections and reflections between physical spaces and abstract concepts, creating a captivating dialogue between the tangible and the intangible. It is through his art that he strives to convey the profound relationship between place and its symbolic resonance.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
As an artist, having dedicated time for work and reflection is crucial. Regularly creating art allows me to delve into my thoughts and ideas. Understanding my identity, beliefs, and motivations as an artist is paramount. Feeling a sense of integrity and purpose behind my work is of utmost importance to me.
What role does the artist have in society?
The role of the artist in society is multifaceted and significant. Artists have the unique ability to challenge norms, provoke thought, and inspire change. They serve as cultural catalysts, reflecting the spirit and values of their time while offering alternative perspectives and pushing boundaries. Furthermore, artists often act as interpreters, translating complex ideas and social issues into tangible and relatable forms that resonate with a broader audience. By creating and sharing their art, artists contribute to the enrichment of society, shaping collective consciousness and fostering a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexities of the world we inhabit.
What art do you most identify with?
Personally, I find a strong affinity with the symbolic art movement of the 19th century. The profound depth and significance embedded within their artwork greatly resonate with me. I am captivated by the richness of their aesthetic, as well as their exploration of spiritual realities and metaphysical themes. The symbolists’ ability to convey intricate ideas and evoke a sense of mystery and introspection through their art is truly compelling to me.
What themes do you pursue?
Within my body of work, I consistently delve into the notion of place, where the tangible and intangible converge and echo one another. I possess a profound fascination with the exploration of spiritual realities and metaphysical themes. These aspects form an integral part of my artistic journey. Through my creative expression, I aim to unravel the intricate connections and reflections between the material world and the ethereal realm. By delving into these depths, I invite viewers to contemplate the profound mysteries that exist beyond the physical plane and to engage with the profound and transcendent aspects of existence.
What’s your favourite art work?
One of my most cherished paintings is “The Thebaid,” a captivating tempera on canvas masterpiece created by Paolo Uccello around 1460. Also referred to as “Scenes from the Lives of the Saints and Monks” or “The Life of the Holy Fathers,” this artwork resonates with me on multiple levels. I am particularly drawn to its inventive qualities and the immersive atmosphere it evokes. The painting exudes a sense of novelty and imaginative flair that captivates my attention and sparks my fascination.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
One of the most inspiring moments in my life was when I had the opportunity to reside in Florence, immersed in the art and architecture that surrounded me on a daily basis. Living amidst such artistic richness awakened my senses and fed me every day. Additionally, my time spent in Kyoto left an indelible mark on my practice as well. The serene temples and the inherent beauty of the natural landscapes in Kyoto resonated deeply with me, providing a profound source of inspiration. These experiences in both Florence and Kyoto have significantly shaped my artistic journey, influencing my perspective and enriching my artistic expression.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
In addition to my career as an artist, I have had the opportunity to explore various other jobs. I have worked in a fine art Auction House, where I gained valuable insights into the intricate world of art commerce. My time working at a high-end Antique shop allowed me to delve into the realm of treasured artifacts and unique historical pieces. Moreover, working as a fine art framer honed my technical skills and deepened my appreciation for the craftsmanship involved in presenting artwork. Along my journey, I also had the privilege of teaching English in Hong Kong, an experience that holds a special place in my heart. The cultural exchange and the rewarding nature of teaching made it one of my most cherished experiences. These diverse roles have enriched my perspective, broadened my skill set, and provided me with a multifaceted understanding of the art world and beyond.
Art is an essential part of my being; it is as natural and necessary as breathing. For me, creating art is not merely a choice but a fundamental need. Just as we require air to survive, an artist cannot thrive without engaging in the act of creating. It allows me to experience the world in a more vibrant and meaningful way, unlocking new dimensions of understanding and appreciation. Art has the power to enhance our existence, enriching every aspect of life.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
My artistic outlook on life is one of curiosity, exploration, and expression. Through art, I strive to delve into the complexities and nuances of the human experience, capturing moments of beauty, introspection, and emotion. In my artistic journey, I aim to inspire, provoke thought, and invite viewers to embark on their own personal and transformative journeys. Art is a boundless source of inspiration, guiding me to embrace the world with wonder, empathy, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of creativity.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
During one of my solo exhibitions held abroad, a profound moment unfolded when an individual encountered one of my artworks. Upon witnessing the piece, they became transfixed, immobile in that very spot. Overwhelmed this person was moved to tears, which persisted for a remarkable span of four hours. This experience served as a testament to the profound connection art can forge between the artist, the artwork, and the viewer, reaffirming the power of artistic expression to evoke weighty emotions and resonate on a profound level.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Aperol spritz is a drink that you could say inspires me. Its vibrant and captivating color, coupled with the nostalgic association I have with it in the enchanting settings of Venice, transports me to that magical place. Whenever I drink an Aperol spritz, I feel a sense of wanderlust and a connection to the joyful spirit of the city. Similarly, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire holds a special place in my heart as one of my favorite songs. Its infectious rhythm and upbeat melody never fail to ignite my desire to dance. Amidst the seriousness that can come with being an artist, this song serves as a delightful reminder to let loose and embrace moments of pure fun and liberation. It allows me to break down barriers and experience the sheer joy that creativity and self-expression bring.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Indeed, being an artist often entails a unique perspective that sets us apart from the majority. It’s as if we have a heightened awareness of the world around us, sometimes perceiving things that others may overlook. This different way of seeing can be isolating, as we may feel out of sync with those who follow more conventional paths. Our engagement in activities divergent from the typical worker further accentuates this sense of separation. However, despite these challenges, I am fortunate to have a close-knit family consisting of my wife and two children, providing an understanding network. To counteract the isolation, I actively seek out like-minded individuals in podcasts, history and in literature. These connections with kindred spirits serve as a valuable source of inspiration and validation.
What do you dislike about the art world?
The disingenuous nature of the industry, characterized by falsehoods and performance, is something that doesn’t resonate with me. I find it difficult to embrace the materialistic values that prioritize money as the primary commodity. Moreover, the presence of politics, games, and virtue signalling within the arts industry is disheartening. These aspects stand in contrast to my authentic artistic expression and values. I strive for a genuine and sincere approach to my craft, where artistic integrity and meaningful connections take precedence over superficiality and empty gestures.
What do you dislike about your work?
As an artist, I often grapple with the discomfort of being on display. I find it challenging to have my personal life and beliefs exposed for everyone to see. This exposure sometimes leads me to compromise the honesty in my work, as I am cautious about revealing too much of myself. While I strive for complete authenticity, I must acknowledge that there are times when my artistic expression may not fully reflect my innermost thoughts and beliefs. It is a delicate balance between self-expression and maintaining a level of privacy, which sometimes results in a more guarded approach to my creative process so I retain a sense of personal sanctuary.
What do you like about your work?
The essence of my work resonates deeply with me, as it embodies a spirit that distinguishes it from the cynicism often found in contemporary art. While acknowledging that the world encompasses both negative and positive aspects, I consciously paint my creations with life in mind. I like that my artwork serves as a conduit for processing and understanding my experiences and allows me to navigate and make sense of the intricate landscapes giving me a deeper connection with the world around me.
Should art be funded?
Indeed, funding for art is crucial, as it plays a significant role in nurturing and sustaining the creative endeavours of artists. Art is an essential part of humanity, enriching our cultural heritage, fostering self-expression, and provoking meaningful dialogue. Without adequate funding, artists would face significant challenges in bringing their visions to life, hindering their ability to contribute to the artistic landscape.
What role does arts funding have?
By providing financial backing for art, we ensure the preservation and continued growth of artistic endeavours, enabling artists to contribute their unique perspectives and enrich our collective human experience. Investing in art is an investment in the richness of our cultural tapestry and the flourishing of creativity for generations to come.
What is your dream project?
A dream project of mine would involve receiving a commission to create an expansive, large-scale painting specifically tailored for a significant and large space. The freedom to pursue my artistic vision without constraints or limitations would be very important. It would give me the opportunity to unleash my creativity and imagination, allowing me to explore new things and push the boundaries of my artistic expression. It would leave an indelible mark on all who encounter the immersive artwork.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
There are three esteemed artists whom I hope I could be compared to in the future. The first is Od Nerdrum, because he is known for his remarkable authenticity and the profound depth of emotion embedded in his work. I like his ability to convey genuine human experiences and evoke heartfelt connections through art. The second artist is Maxfield Parrish, whose creations transport viewers to ethereal and atmospheric realms. I am captivated by his ability to craft stunningly beautiful and immersive worlds that ignite the imagination. Lastly, I look to Ernst Fuchs, whose enigmatic and mesmerizing artworks possess an otherworldly allure. I am drawn to his unique blend of strangeness and beauty, which pushes the boundaries of artistic expression. These artists serve as sources of inspiration, and my aspiration is to reach a level in my career where I can be favourably compared to their remarkable contributions to the art world.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Italy holds a special place in my heart as my favorite destination in the world. It offers an endless tapestry of art and history, two passions that deeply resonate with me. The country’s rich cultural heritage provides a constant source of inspiration and exploration, allowing me to immerse myself in artistic wonders spanning centuries. As an artist, Italy is particularly enchanting because of the inherent artistic values embraced by its people. This devotion to aesthetics is evident in the breathtaking environments that surround me, creating a captivating atmosphere that fuels my creativity. Italy’s unique blend of art, history, and artistic sensibility makes it an unparalleled sanctuary for any artistic soul.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I have encountered is to recognize that the world is not as daunting as it may seem. By embracing a sense of adventure and curiosity, we open ourselves up to new experiences, uncharted territories, and the potential for personal growth. It helps us to step outside our comfort zones, to seek out the unknown, and to embrace the beauty and opportunities that exist beyond our familiar surroundings. It builds more courage and with it we can unlock the doors to new discoveries and enrich our lives with diverse perspectives, experiences, and connections.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My professional aspirations encompass several key elements. Firstly, I would love to establish a reputation where I can attract students from around any location who I can eventually teach. This would allow me to create a vibrant community of artists, fostering a rich exchange of knowledge and inspiration. Secondly, a spacious and dream-like studio in the countryside. This studio would serve as a sanctuary for both my personal artistic endeavours and as a nurturing space for teaching. Lastly, I seek to make a meaningful impact through my work, creating art that resonates deeply with views and contributes to the larger purpose of art in the world. By pursuing these goals, I hope to forge a fulfilling and purpose-driven artistic career that leaves a legacy. This would be my ultimate dream for my artistic career.
I am currently anticipating two upcoming exhibitions that I have been working on, where I will have the opportunity to showcase my artistic creations to a wider audience. These exhibitions mark an exciting phase in my artistic journey, allowing me to share my work and connect with fellow art enthusiasts. These are some of my plans but currently, my primary focus revolves around nurturing and raising my two young children, aged 2 and 4. They are the most important use of my energy and time now. As they grow more self-sufficient, I hope to embark on more travel adventures, with the desire to potentially spend a year living in London, exposing my children to new experiences and diverse cultures. I guess the love for traveling runs deep within me, and it will always remain a prominent aspect of my future dreaming.