Manassas Journal Messenger | Spotlight: Introducing: David LaGarde, artist

Name: David LaGarde

Occupation: Artist

Q: How long have you been painting?

A: All my life. I grew up loving art — from as far back as I can remember. My talents have stuck out to everyone from teachers, to fellow students to family. I first recognized my artistic talents as a method of making money when I got into high school and began studying in my school’s advanced classes. For years I was taught technique after technique, each of which I promptly discarded, believing in my heart that if God had truly blessed me with a gift, then it would be all I needed in life. I was wrong — I needed to do certain things, like develop a professional portfolio, join the art scene and look to market my styles. My grandfather was a painter and I may have taken after him.

Q: How have things worked out for you?

A: At first nothing inspired me to do the things I should because along with the deep belief that my talents were all I needed, I also believed that to sell my art would be shallow, and would, in a sense, cheapen every piece of art I’d done and would do for the rest of my life. Art has always been the one, pure thing in my life — even if I were imprisoned — I would always have the talent, and to me, altering my styles or beliefs in order to make a career out of my artwork would be in a way, selling part of my soul — part of whom I am. It wasn’t until I experienced drugs that I realized, though, that life doesn’t happen to people — that it’s the other way around.

Q: What inspired you to change your life?

A: I realized that if I wanted to live, to take the one chance (because we all have only one) I had on this earth and make something of it, I’d need to add muscle to my magic. It’s taken years to narrow down my interests in life, but I thank God every morning and night that he’s given me the sobriety to find my way — to see his life.

Drug addiction was like being in a haze of fear and confusion — a dungeon I’d locked myself in — in which the only connection I had to the outside world were my own comparisons with those around me. When I got sober, it was like somebody pulling a curtain off of my eyes that I’d been wearing for most of my life, and instilling a drive within my heart to take my second chance at life and make something amazing out of it.

I couldn’t sit and watch as person after person I met in the rooms ended up dying, relapsing, suffering strokes or being arrested, and justify selling my second chance short. After two years of soul-searching, analyzing, watching — I’ve arrived back to where I was two and a half years ago, with one added tool — I know who I am.

Q: What do you strive to portray in your works?

A: I use color, scene, light and darks to demonstrate the world through my eyes — vision that without bragging, I feel is a gift in itself. If reality is simply the individual’s perceptions of the moment, then I offer mine, the same way a director shows us hate, sadness, love and fear on the big screen.

Q: What are your future goals?

A: To have some of my works in top galleries in Greater Washington D.C. area. I’ve been accepted to display my work in the “Art on the Avenue” festival in Old Town Alexandria this Saturday.

Q: How would you describe your works?

A: Abstract impression. I work on large canvas — some three by seven feet and some four by five feet.

Q: Where do you do your painting and how much time a day do you devote to it?

A: At least a half day every day. I work at my home out in the country near Catharpin. Depending on how complicated and how big the works is, I can produce a painting in two or three days. I have several dozen completed works and I am anxious to show them. I deal primarily in oils.

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: Woodbridge High School. I’m 21 now and looking forward to a future as an artist. I’m looking at some art schools now to further my career. I’m also setting up a web page.

Q: Where do you get the inspirations for your works?

A: Most out of my head. I know what I like, what I love. I feel like I’m on a mission to take this second chance God so freely gave me and make something out of it, always remembering that to lose my heart is to lose my soul. Life is a buffet, and everyone seems to be starving, is a short quote I saw a few months ago and it describes my outlook on life. For me, to inspire is to give others that chance I’ve been given. To shed light into another’s life is simply the only way I know how to give back. Subtract my paint, canvas and brush strokes and you’re left with a message. The message that life isn’t all science, religion and money — the message that life is something surreal — it’s something so unbelievable and bright that it’s hard even for me to grasp the true glory of it.

Q: Who do you target your works to?

A: Anyone who has a love of large art — particularly those with large homes in the area who have an appreciation for such powerful works.

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