You may or may not know that David Cunningham is my fiancé and long term love with whom I raise 4 children with, but before all of that he was an artist. We met because he was an artist, an art professor to be exact, and I’ve always felt strongly that his work is stunning. I felt this way prior to falling in love with him, his work is just shockingly rich. He inspired me endlessly to push myself further than I thought as a professor and as an artist and I never forgot those lessons.
His paintings themselves look as though they are windows peering into a space of stylized almost-photographicly delicate realism. I can most assure you that you will be amazed that *all* the small images below are actually paintings (or drawings) that he has spent hours upon hours on while detailing each square inch. The finished paintings are even more rich where you can really see the details; they are amazing because of the reality he creates within them. I’m a lucky girl to have this beauty and skill under my roof. Although he is male, and we have rarely featured males, I think it’s time. Skill and beauty know no sex, race or religion and nor does the unconventionality that is Miseducated.
How long have you been creating art?
That depends on what your definition of “art” is. Like most kids, I loved to draw, color, paint, build models, play with playdough, etc. Unlike most kids, I never stopped. As for “art” , art only happens on occasion. It is unique, personal, and beyond me as the creator. I think the first time that happened was around 2003.
What is your preferred medium?
Nothing beats the lumosity and color richness you can achieve with oil paint.
Did it ever become your main focus and when?
After Undergraduate school I opened up my own studio and made work full time (mostly ceramics.) Honestly, it was a very lonely time for me. I worked 8-10 hours every day and would go several days without seeing anyone. This was the days before podcasts and audiobooks a plenty that keep me company these days in the studio. It was lonely. I am an introvert but not that introverted. I found out in graduate school that teaching helped me become a better artist. It balanced me… giving me an opportunity to interact with others and exchange ideas. I have been balancing teaching as an art professor and studio work ever sense.
What has been your favorite exhibition or event to be involved in?
One of my stone paintings won Best in Show at the Contemporary Realism Biennial several years back. It really floored me. It was a national show featuring some of the best realistic art in America. It was an honor just to be included…to win was epic.
What inspires you most?
Beauty. Not beauty that others can easily recognize, but beauty that is overlooked. That is one of the things that I like about painting stones. They are extraordinary but no one really pays attention to them. The work I have to do as an artist is to make others see the beauty that I see.
How do you deal with artist’s block?
I make work. Often this isn’t the afore mentioned “art” but just studies or master copies. Anything to keep working. Pressure to perform… to make something great scares away the muse.
What has been your favorite work you’ve created?
I don’t really have favorites. Some are clearly better than others, but they are all my children. I am always surprised at what work connects with people. That is why I do it. It isn’t really important if it connects with me. My job is just to make the work. That’s it. Show up and do it.
Do you have any odd stories about one of your pieces?
I had a large painting that I had spent many hours on and all of the parts were beautifully painted, but the composition was off. I tried to sell it for cheap with no takers. I then got the idea to cut it up into 4 small paintings. Each of the small paintings sold for more than I was asking for the whole painting.
Food? watermelon, steak, lobster
Music? Coldplay, Radiohead, mellow indie rock
Magazine? I don’t have time to read! I listen to audio books and podcasts though.
Movie? Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction
Book? The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Do you have any advice for readers interested in turning their hobby into their main focus?
Read the War of Art and do what it says. Live as modestly as you can so you have as much time as possible to make your work. Don’t give up. Art is a war of attrition. Perseverance and hard work beats talent.
What do you feel is a recipe for success?
First you have to define what success is. Otherwise, how will you know if you hit it? Secondly, find mentors (people who are doing what you want to do). Do what they do and you will get what they get.
Would you say you’re Miseducated?
I am Mistereducated. Predictably logical unless you are a woman then I am a mystery.