Back when I first interviewed Los Angeles-based low brow master, Dave MacDowell, in 2013, he had already participated in around 100 group art exhibits, with an average of about 3-a-month. These days, while it’s much more uncommon to see the painter appear in many of those, that doesn’t mean that he’s let up from his schedule of painting most of his days away, or that he’s been any less prolific. In fact, he seems to be pumping out more art than ever, much of which can be viewed through his Instagram and Facebook pages and/or purchased through his site, LivingRoomFloorGallery.com.
Looking back on our old interview, there’s a section where I ask him specifically about his feelings regarding commissions. For Dave, it’s clear that he views them as a jumping off point, if anything, rather than something that restricts his creative freedom — he’ll always find room for his own voice and a way to make both himself and the client happy. [Those of us that have watched multiple seasons of Project Runway know just how important a skill like that is considered.] It’s interesting, though, that, while patrons love picking up pieces from their favorite artists at any number of these endless themed group exhibits that pop up constantly, they often seem to forget that a good percentage of these artists will take commissions directly. The benefits to that are obvious, including that you can get exactly what you want created and that the money all goes directly to the artists themselves — you may even save a few bucks, since there’s not middle man taking a cut and you’re eliminating the fees accrued because of overhead. MacDowell is a man of ideas, so buying a piece from someone like that outright is often the way to go, but if there’s an idea that you really want to see created, or even just have the outline of one, and you recognize that a particular artist possesses the perfect style and ability to make it a reality, a commissioned piece could definitely be the way to go.
Dave‘s latest commission is going to Pi Pizza, a Houston restaurant that’s opening its first brick and mortar location after operating out of a successful truck for the last 4 1/2 years. And… it’s a big one. To decorate the new establishment, MacDowell was asked to provide 21 skate decks (3 rows of 7) painted up with various images, primarily related to skate/punk themes. Among the subjects represented are punk legends like Black Flag, Minor Threat, Suicidal Tendencies, Bad Brains, The Mifits, The Clash, and X-Ray Spex; old-school skaters, Christian Hosoi and Natas Kaupas; and such classic 80s films as The Goonies, The Lost Boys, and John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China. There are even Loretta Lynn and Aleister Crowley decks thrown in for good measure. Personally, I think that investing in art is a great move for a business like this to make, especially since it can be written off as an expense. If you are going to invest in decor anyway, you might as well do it right.
One of the things that I love about MacDowell is how he has always adopted a similar approach to that of the legendary DJ crew, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, who, rather than try and conceal their samples, always let everyone see exactly how they created their magic, knowing that the aspects that truly made them unique could never be duplicated. Anyone that follows Dave‘s personal Facebook page knows that he regularly posts updates for his paintings, showing the work while it is in process. The craziest part is how quickly these updates progress, as the self-taught artist is notorious for being swift with his craft, once he gets going. For each of these pieces featured, he was able to maintain a mindboggling schedule knocking out an average of one completed deck a day. Seriously.
I tried to hit up Dave for images of each individual deck for this post, but as he explained, tomorrow’s “Fed-Ex day” which means that these are all boxed up and ready for shipment, at this point. Instead, I just grabbed what was available through the updates in his Facebook history, which explains why some images may be of different resolutions, etc. Through that process, I’ve still been successful at grabbing shots of 20 out of the 21 total decks (the final Hosoi piece with the helmet is the only one missing). However, all of the decks can still be seen collectively in the header image above. If you ever feel like seeing these in person, however, you’ll have to go to Pi Pizza when it opens at 181 Heights Blvd. Houston TX 77007, later this year. If you want to invest in a commission of your own, just contact Dave MacDowell directly through THIS LINK, or hit him up on social media. He’s really not a very difficult guy to get a hold of.