David Wallace, of Tyler, often creates art using common and discarded objects. His work has been exhibited at Gallery Main Street and in other spaces.
He has held classes to help others tap into their artistic creativity and find joy through art.
On many a Thursday, Wallace sets up and paints on the downtown Tyler square during Tunes at Noon.
Why did you first take up creating art?
Although I have always dabbled with art, I never felt compelled to make art a priority. Art created me. At age 55, we sold our longtime country home and moved into a urban space in downtown Tyler. That was nearly 10 years ago. We gave all our country decor away and now needed a lot of things to decorate our new industrial space.
I spotted some interesting objects in the trash at the restaurant next door and decided to try and create something to decorate the 2,500-square-foot space we now called home. It was a successful attempt.
Everybody loved it and they told me I should continue to create more pieces of similar art. I did continue and one thing led to another. There was a time in the beginning, when I would start another assemblage, that my wife would see me working at the dining table and exclaim, “Oh no, not another one!” She soon got used to the sight, as many others began commissioning me to create an assemblage for them.
I’ve sold many pieces over the last 10 years. Our home is filled to the brim. Some pieces are stacked leaning on walls.
I often do shows that require a number of pieces of art to be displayed. I am now recognized in public as “that artist guy” and art is definitely a top priority.
You are known for incorporating discarded objects in art collages. How did that happen?
I explained that how the need for decor had driven me to create art and that we needed a lot. Buying art supplies can be very expensive. I was just trying to keep the cost to a minimum by utilizing materials that were free for the taking. I didn’t even know that there was a name for my art form. It is known as an assemblage.
What I do with my assemblages is not unheard of, but it is a little uncommon. After hearing so many comments from artists telling me that my art looked a lot like Louise Nevelson, I went on the internet. She was very famous and a cutting-edge artist. I love her work. You should check her out for yourself.
What are the more unusual items that you have used?
I would answer that the items I use are not unusual at all. In fact, they are very common objects. That is part of the appeal. I love watching people as they observe the art and discover the items I have utilized. My art is mostly created from things we all discard everyday.
Recycling has become an issue that is important to me as creating art. The amount of trash we are filling our landfills with is staggering. It is a problem that is costing so much now and into the future. Anything you can do is better than nothing.
My art is “Green Art.” Sometimes I will add a special found object, but I liked to deconstruct it into small pieces and then add it to the mix. I am always amazed when people can reconstruct it in their minds and recognize its presence.
Someone might ask, “Is that a toy army tank or was that a computer mouse?” One time I created two large pieces of art made from Styrofoam, cardboard, and my old underwear and T-shirts. They now hang in a beautiful South Tyler home. I named them “Tidy Whities #1” and “Tidy Whities #2.”
You often paint during Tunes at Noon on the square in downtown Tyler. What are people’s reactions to your art?
Have you ever seen the look of amazement on the face of a child? It is priceless!
That response is what keeps me creating this art form. It never fails to appeal to all. No matter young or old, male or female, or any ethnicity, it seems to appeal to everyone.
Remember finding the hidden items in a picture in the children’s Highlights Magazine, from years ago? What fun it was! That is the reaction I always get! I always place a book out and encourage people to write a comment.
The comments are always fantastic. I keep waiting for someone to make a negative remark, but it never happens. I feel very blessed.
How do you believe your common-object art pieces expand the idea of what art is and could be?
It’s not a new art form. The assemblage has been around for a very long time. Even Picasso created some very famous works. As far as what art is, we are still trying to figure the answer to that question.
Art continues to evolve, even into the age of computers and beyond. There is a science devoted to the study of objects and their effect on us. We tend to visualize our world through shapes and colors. Our minds search for patterns and repeating patterns.
It is commonly believed that humans are the only species on the planet that create art for the sake of pleasure. Art for the sake of art. There is an artist in all of us, just waiting to be discovered. I always like to say, “There is art in every heart.” Just look for it. It is there!