David Buckingham
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David getting metal
David in Action getting found metal in the L.A. desert.

Creativity has many muses. For self-taught sculptor David Buckingham, a New Orleans native currently working in Los Angeles, inspiration comes from a vast landscape that is both figurative and literal. His current endeavor, shaped in many ways by his Crescent City roots and his ample life experiences, entails foraging expeditions for his raw materials into the uncompromising desert east of Los Angeles as well as into forgotten industrial sites in the urban center. From the detritus of our military-industrial complex, Buckingham creates fascinating works of art that reflect the conflicts, joy, humor and pathos of modern life.

The process behind his large-scale vintage metal sculptures is deceptively simple. Hidden within the artwork are the hours of hit-or-miss searching for the right raw materials, which he gleans from the junked steel wastelands of the city and the litter of the empty desert. Also outside the view of his many collectors is the bewildering array of power tools and equipment that he uses to craft his vision.

The concept behind his work reflects a life of ups and downs and a range of experiences that seems to have lead directly to this moment. 20 years writing advertising copy for television created the need for another, more visceral creative outlet. A chance experience with Ray Kelly, one of the founders of the Rivington School in New York City, led to his first rudimentary welding lesson. A sojourn to Australia that stretched to five years afforded him the opportunity to hone his metal-working techniques.

David preparing metal
David preparing the metal

Buckingham attributes his fascination with all things derelict to his youth in New Orleans- the most elegantly decaying city in the world. He says, "I'm not interested in shiny, new material. I love the idea that these battered, forgotten relics are rescued and converted into art; that something that was destined for the landfill ends up in a marble hall in the Hamptons."

A lifelong articulate observer of the world around him, Buckingham's art reflects the life he has lived. Having taken many paths to reach this point, he takes no shortcuts with his work. Referencing his often sardonic sense of humor he says, "All of the colors I use are original as found; David Buckingham is no painter. ”

The past five years spent living and working in Los Angeles clearly informs his current projects. Immigrant subcultures and the American fascination with guns and automobiles are just a few of the themes that run through his work. His use of icons of Americana always manages to provoke a reaction, which has always been a goal regardless of the medium.

Always self-aware, the artist says in words that are obviously conscious of the profound confluence of his life and his art, "What I look for is old, battered, colorful metal things that have had a previous life and have the scars to prove it. I want to make art from things that have a story to tell."