Artist Profile: Dave Calkins

DAVE CALKINS TALKS TO STEPHANIE VIGILANTE ABOUT THE PURE JOY OF PAINT.

CALIFORNIA-BORN, Perth-based artist Dave Calkins grew up in his abstract painter uncle’s studio. It’s where his passion for painting and the use of bold colours was born, and where he first discovered his creative side. “I have explored several areas of self-expression to arrive back at my first primal love – painting,” says Dave.

The self-taught artist paints vibrant and stimulating artwork in bold impasto colours using a free-flowing style. “Acrylics on large canvas allow me to paint aggressively,” he says. “I paint in the moment and being quick-drying, they allow me to continue on with the subject in a shorter course of time while my ideas are fresh, active and alive.” Subjects range from summertime and flowers to beach fun and underwater seascapes. Each painting is a textured reflection of Calkin’s mind. “I constantly have creative thoughts in my head,” he says.

Step inside Dave’s studio and you’ll hear vintage rock or blues playing in the background. It’s rare that he’ll be working when you arrive though, as his most inspiring time is into the night and early morning hours. “I find solace at these times when I know the rest of the world is sleeping,” he explains. “Deliberate strokes of paint straight from the tube to a canvas provides a fundamental fulfilment.” 

While Dave paints to release the freedoms of his own inner child, he hopes to stir those same joyous emotions in the viewer. “If I produce a smile from the observer then I feel that the final verdict is a success,” Dave says.

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