about David Isenberg
Half of my life was spent in the US, much of it in the Denver, Colorado area. The other half has been in Copenhagen, Denmark - where I continue to reside.
Creating art is fun… and fun is about playing. Genuine artistry rests in the personality of the artist- which reveals itself through play. I have always seen my art as essentially abstract, implying a form of “translation”. Capturing an image with perfection has never held interest for me, although developing the skill to do so has. There may be the glimmer of an “idea” up front when I begin to draw or paint. More often there is not. Sometimes I simply start and proceed on a journey of discovery as it unfolds and finds itself.
I never draw, paint - or photograph - for others. I must please myself- the harshest critic I will ever face. Still, I acknowledge a much wider audience whom I naturally wish to compel whenever possible. Hopefully, something within the galleries will catch your eye- or pique your interest.
Collections and exhibitions
Work from my hand sits in private and public collections internationally. I have had solo exhibitions across 3 continents. On occasion I have participated in group exhibitions or held lectures. In 1981, Centre Culturel Jean Gagnant in Limoges, France hosted my public seminar (“Art in America”) along with a solo exhibition. In 1982, the American arts magazine, “Artists of the Rockies” did a feature article on my work. Later, at a 10-year retrospective exhibition held by the magazine, I received the 1st place award. In 1984 I was invited to participate with the Japanese artist’s group, Shin Yoga Kai (New Wave), held at Tokyo-To Museum of Art in Ueno Park, Tokyo, for which I received the Chairman’s Prize. In 2011, I was invited to hold a lecture on art and design at Copenhagen’s Rundetårn, while participating in the exhibition, “Dit Tårn Din Kunst.”
I have held other positions within the art community. For a time I acted as an assistant art dealer in the Denver Art Galleries. Later I was the Denver Bureau head of the Japan based company, ICO (International Creator's Organization). ICO publishes international graphic design and photography annuals, both of which featured my work for several years.
Nothing focuses the mind like teaching a subject you know and care deeply about. Alongside my life as an artist, I have also been a teacher for much of it, working with children and adults alike. Beginning at the age of 17, I ran a life drawing class at the University of Denver. I taught drawing at the Colorado Institute of Art for several years and I have worked with FOF Copenhagen since 1995, in particular an innovative free expression course entitled “David’s Class”. I’ve also taught specific drawing classes, including one at Copenhagen’s Glyptotek Museum. In 2013, I was presented with FOF’s Teacher of the Year award from among 736 teachers nation-wide.
None of the work throughout this site has been grouped in chronological order. There is no specific linear progression.
First and foremost, the liberating act of free creation exists and is celebrated. The definitions of representational and abstract are blurred. I have always- at every juncture- created both types of art. A pluralist, I have always been less concerned with repetitive consistency in media, genre, approach, or style but rather advocate free and experimental creative activity, wherever it takes me. There is a logical progression to the work but like the artist, it’s complicated.
I am primarily a painter but drawing sits at the heart of any work that I do… and it may arguably be the thing that I do best. Drawing teaches the artist to observe, training the hand as well as the eye. Armenian-American artist Arshile Gorky put it thus: “Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint”.
While developing precise observation and delicate motor control is a boon, speed can also be a great- but occasionally difficult- friend. The true art always exists not in capturing perfect accuracy but in exerting one’s personality, with the highest level of acquired skill.
Among other studies at one of the art schools I attended in NYC (Pratt Institute), I trained as a printmaker. The complex nature of pulling prints has always held a place in my artistic heart. While printmaking often involves the production of identical multiples, the aspect of playful creativity has always held greater interest. Monoprints appeal to me, while each print becomes a one-of-a-kind work of art. Several are featured in the galleries. I take a similar process-oriented approach to painting.
Rarely is my work created by solely conventional methods; for example, painting directly upon canvas. There will nearly always be a complex, mixed media element of built up textures such as powdered marble or modeling paste, manipulated and overpainted using various tools: knives, combs, cardboard, stencils, resists, and rollers- as well as brushes. Yet something as simple as a rapid sketch with a few added bits of collaged paper can get right to the heart of a universal vision (“Red Train” / Home page, Figurative).
In recent work, watercolors on paper- already the most unforgiving of painting mediums- give way to water media applied to hand carved boards, a far more difficult and work intensive process. It can be seen as creating texture in reverse, carving down rather than building up.
I see photography as an art of its own. Like drawing and painting, it is about vision. It is about seeing and making choices, sometimes in a split second, other times waiting for the ideal moment. Or it could be planning and setting up a long exposure… or double exposure. Photographing people interests me more than nearly any other subject.
However, I almost never allow anyone to pose in front of the scene I wish to take a picture of unless they are the specific subject themselves: usually people I have never met but which momentarily ended up in front of my camera while traveling in some far-flung land.
The photographs on this site are placed in one large gallery. They are in random order on purpose. Doing so allows you to view each picture individually without focusing upon its geographical location or subject. You are encouraged to simply enjoy each photograph visually.
While I’m not a fan of seeing my name all over the images displayed on this site, it has been done for copyright protection. For this purpose, I would like to thank Visual Watermark for an excellent, highly useful, elegantly precise and rather fun-to-use tool. It allowed me to customize a unique series of watermarks, complete with metadata, for each individually resized image. The site manager is accommodating and helpful. The service comes highly recommended for anyone requiring such a tool.
about the site
Various images of artwork not included on this site are perhaps more of note than many which are. In the pre-digital era, photographing one’s work was an expensive and often rare project, requiring professional assistance and top quality photo labs. Usually the work was created and out the door before a record could be taken… some of the best work, unfortunately. What’s shown here is but a collection of samples. Click on an image for further information.