When we launched PROVK we wanted to feature individuals who embodied the main traits we stand for - style and substance. We didn’t have to go far to find exactly that in Miami artist, David McCauley. We visited David in his Little Haiti studio at Laundromat Art Space. David is one of those artists that just exemplifies pure cool, and the feeling in his studio carries that same feel. Between the music playing, the neon art pieces hanging on the walls and David’s infectious smile, we were ready to cancel the rest of our afternoon and spend the day just hanging out and soaking it all in. With his cool demeanor, David chatted with us about his journey in art, how an accident that left him paralyzed led him to help others, and how he feels about the current political environment.
What's your earliest memory in art?
Ms. Lu in elementary school and my mom doing art. My mom was a classically trained artist.
Who influenced you to become an artist?
My mom She was an artist and then a housewife and I never saw her paint. Once me and my brother went to college, she started painting again and when I saw the work I thought, you are fucking good. I never got that talent. She shows in museums and galleries in the Midwest. When I landed here in Miami, I opened shop in Wynwood, so all of the those street artists were kind of heroes to me. I love that NY scene in the 70s and 80s with Keith Haring and Basquiat. Chuck Close being a successful disabled artist is an inspiration. Everyone here is an inspiration to me. Anyone taking a chance. Being an artist is not easy, your spending habits change quickly when you become a full time artist. Anyone that is strong enough to take that jump and risk inspires me.
How did you get started?
I started doing photography. I wanted to buy this fancy camera but I wanted the camera to pay for itself. So I started shooting when I was out in Colorado which was where I landed after I graduated from school. Capturing street scenes or landscapes, and I took them to the local coffee shop St. Marks, and asked them to put them up. So I started selling them slanging these photos at $30 or $50 a pop. I paid for my camera. Then I moved to NYC and did the same thing. That was my creative outlet. After I was injured, I started painting again. Doing art therapy effected me in such a profound way that I started a non-profit organization that features art therapy and nine years later I'm a full-time working artist.
How would you describe your art?
Mix media is the easiest way to describe with a focus on text and typography. I don't like to put myself in a box. There are artist that are strictly painters or sculptors, but I like to discover new techniques. For a couple years I was only using skateboards, and then silkscreen, and now I'm working with neon, steel and chemical tarnishes. I'm not a trained artist, so I'm always looking for my materials to make my art. So I'll pour chemicals on steel and leave it alone for a week, or put it out in the sun and then sand it down. I like experimenting.
Item you use the most in the studio?
Bottle opener (he laughs). I would say lately it's paint rollers and plexiglass
What is your favorite item in the studio?
My speakers. We go these for an exposition last year and when I come into the studio I like to put music on. I always work with music. I can't have it quiet in the studio.
What are you working on, any shows or projects?
I'm going to be part of a show in NY this November. I'm also working with UBS for Art Basel this year in December. I'll be doing an eight foot by six foot installation that will be displayed in the main show this year.
What do you want do accomplish with your art?
Recently its changed for me. Maybe a little in flux right now. 2017 has been a bit weird with my art. Last year I went all out with projects and investing in new pieces. I don't know what's next right now. This has been an introspective year for me. I think that everything with the hurricane and skipping town a few times has been a factor. I don't like to make excuses, but the political climate make me feel like things are just really fucked up and strange right now. It makes me feel like what I'm doing in terms of art creation feel small and almost borderline selfish. I feel like the pendulum might swing so far where I start doing political militant artwork. This is my voice and this is my platform and maybe I'll have to hold my fist in the air and say my piece.