A Life’s Work
“… it seems like only yesterday”.
That is the impact David had on me, with his art, his wit, humour, and his passion for beauty, cut short and in the stage of his career where his confidence and conviction knew no limit.
Now that David is no longer with us, we can only rely on the memories of yesterday, but that doesn’t apply to his art.
He was a prolific creator of imagery, design and art, both disciplines that would crash into our world as something that was clever, inspirational, thought provoking or truly beautiful.
Anything David was about to show you, you knew you were about to be challenged, in awe of his technique, sensibility to colour and rationale behind the works.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, David studied art at the famous Glasgow School of Art, before graduating with a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art, London.
He turned his back on a noted career, as part of The Cloth collective, in the heady days of London + New York’s 80s Fashion, Design and Music, working with names such as Paul Smith, Spandau Ballet, Nicole Miller, Vanity Fair and Interview magazines, to travel the world.
Some of these important works from “The Cloth” were part of an exhibition “Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980’s” at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which opened in July 2013.
Fortunately, for all of us, he made Australia his new home, and settled in Melbourne.
This gave David a new perspective on life and a chance to dedicate himself to developing an identity in art, miles from the influences of textiles design he found himself being swept along with previously.
Australia influenced David with a colour palette he had never seen before, a different perspective on life and all things of matter, and a lifestyle which must have been so foreign, he quickly put his kilt into storage.
With new challenges in front of him, he immediately connected with the art community and established himself as a recognised member.
David’s early style of artwork relied heavily on figurative drawings and motifs, and, outside of exhibiting, David adapted this style with his passion for design to establish a successful graphic art collaborative, Mahon & Band.
Never comfortable with being a successful graphic artist, David grappled internally with his ethics and respect for his pure art, and felt his art being compromised by fluctuating between commercial creativity and the tag of being a “serious artist”.
Looking back now, it is obvious that both disciplines fed off each other and I regret he put such strict boundaries between both, if he hadn’t it would have relieved his internal struggles and accepted his place as having the rare skill of traversing successfully between art and commercial design.
So that was then, and this is now – there will be no more new David Band art, and we are blessed with what has been created, and value it even more.
Those new to his art will see works of an artist that at first glance seem quite one dimensional, even naive, but dig deeper and there is a lot to discover and inspire.
David’s technical knowledge and techniques create multi-layer imagery, he would often build images on top of images, on top of images, so that each preceding layer had an influence on the next, giving ghostly images deep beneath the surface.
This didn’t happen by chance, this was all part of the very considered thought process, yet another added layer.
To add to this is the titles of each work, which gave David another opportunity to add another layer, with wit, humour, sarcasm or passion.
These titles would come from his voracious appetite for reading contemporary literature, or locking himself in the studio listening to the music from his eclectic stable of musician friends and acquaintances, all who had a pivotal influence in his life, Rod Stewart, Miles Davis, John Martyn, Lloyd Cole, Aztec Camera et al.
The arrangements and lyrics had such a profound influence on David, that his art will forever live on as brilliant arrangements and lyrics.
– Earl Carter