David Chatfield

Hello new #painting classroom, can't wait to mess you up this semester #adjunctlife #art #newschoolyear

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Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, my venture into the arts began the moment I smelled linseed oil. That smell lit a fire in me in the same way that I imagine an alcoholic’s first drink hits them.

I graduated college just at the start of a recession, and I found that the slumping economy and my lack of experience did not allow for job opportunities beyond than those found at art stores or summer camps. I moved back to Colorado Springs and accepted a job doing what most art majors end up doing - graphic design.

Unfortunately, I had a job as a graphic designer at a local newspaper. Local newspapers had begun dying out, and this newspaper blankly chewed leaves from higher and higher branches as the asteroid descended. After the impact, I was laid off for the first time. I then moved to Philadelphia, where after working a few more years designing away my integrity, I was laid off for a second time. Rather than searching for yet another graphic design job that would likely result in more dissatisfaction, I applied to graduate school in order to focus on art and education.

And so here's the Artist Statement:

My experience as an expendable and disillusioned office monkey informs my work, and it has gradually became focused on labor and economic issues. Initially I made images involving the spaces designed to contain people for the purpose of work, cubicles for example, and the human beings occupying those spaces. Eventually the lack of a figure (or evidence of unemployment) became an interesting way to explore the space as a stage for my ideas.

My art in recent years has been more generally about my previous employment experiences, or frankly, my roller-coaster ride of employment experiences, from under-employment to my long stints of expert-level Craigslist/jobs and Monster.com training. After being laid-off for a second time, and during the Great Recession of aught-eight, I began researching archival imagery of past economic disasters.

I wanted find the connective tissue between them and the recent economic climate, then insert my personal experience, while trying to unify the possible disparities through pictorial and stylistic means. This usually means layering contrasting imagery into a work and researching appropriate artistic processes, which recently have included digital collagé, printmaking, and painting.

Looking forward, my work will continue this thread, as I explore the so-called “gig economy” and tie it to the past. I’ve recently paired Uber drivers with Hobos, both itinerant and contingent at-will workers. With this in mind I’ve translated the Uber logo into Hobo graffiti, and combined iconic imagery of Hobos into modern contexts. My future work will also incorporate my own experience as a contingent and itinerant Adjunct.

The contradictions and incongruities between artificial work spaces and workers, the economic past and present, and having a job while still being poor is where my works exists.





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