David Galchutt can pinpoint the exact moment he knew he wanted to be an artist; a moment that came early on in his life.
“When I was in kindergarten, we all had to draw trees and I drew my tree with branches and bird’s nests and things, and I looked at everybody else’s and they all looked like Q-tips. Brown and green Q-tips,” said Galchutt. “I figured at that point maybe that’s what I did that was a little bit special.”
Since then, Galchutt graduated from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and worked as an illustrator for 40 years in various industries, including children’s literature, giftware, toys and greeting cards. He also authored and illustrated his own children’s book, “There Was Magic Inside,” which was published by notable publishing house Simon & Schuster. As the current featured artist at the Manley Art Center, his recent works will be on display until April 3.
Galchutt attributes his success as an artist in part to the guidance and encouragement he received from his parents early on, both of whom were also artists. His father was a graphic designer and his mother studied costume design at Chouinard Arts Institute, where the two met.
“I don’t know if genetics has anything to do with it or not, but my parents were extraordinarily gifted and shared their insights and talents with me,” said Galchutt.
When looking at Galchutt’s paintings and illustrations, you may notice some common elements, such as kings, castles and whimsical characters wearing ornate, medieval-looking costumes. Galchutt said that is because he is most interested in making art about historical periods and is inspired by his travels abroad.
“When I go abroad, especially in England… I take tons of photos. It could be architectural detail, it could be a tapestry, it could be part of a costume that inspires me, and I will snap photos and a lot of times those end up appearing in my art work later,” said Galchutt.
As an illustrator, Galchutt worked primarily with watercolors. However, he switched to oil paints when he noticed he could achieve deeper and richer color, and for the last 12 years he has painted solely with oils but is still learning how to use them.
“I never really got much instruction in art school regarding oils. So, I decided to teach myself how to use them and it is still a learning process,” Galchutt said.
Those who are interested can view Galchutt’s exhibit of oil paintings at the Manley Art Center, which is open 11 a.m. 3 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. A reception for his exhibit will be held March 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. Galchutt said he hopes his work will have a positive impact on the community.
“If they enjoy looking at it, that makes me very happy,” said Galchutt.
The Manley Art Center is located at 433 Oak Street in Brookings.