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David P. Stephens

Painter of Maritime Life

Artist Contact Information

 

Please e-mail < davidpstephens@auracom.com > for further information or feedback

 


ARTIST'S STATEMENT

Born Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nov.15, 1955, I have been actively painting full-time since 1985. Through the initial influence of my parents, I learned from an early age to appreciate and embrace the cultural mosaic of the larger world outside my immediate focus. Largely self-taught and untrained as an artist, yet fueled by a variety of interests and a vivid imagination, I have been intrigued with the art making process since childhood. I was fortunate to have parental encouragement and art lessons from a wonderful lady, Jean Jock, who allowed me to explore within myself rather than attempting to fill my young head with too much theory. This helped to instill in me an appreciation for the power and significance of emotional substance in the artistic process. "Substance before theory" has since been my guiding light, whether creating a work of my own or viewing that of others. Thus, I seek the natural aesthetic in harmony with the artists personal raw vision.

That's me on the right in the photo above with my good friend, Sidney Howard (d.1992), famous woodcarver from Albert Bridge, Cape Breton Island. At the time of this photo we were relaxing after a long day attending one of Chris Huntington's outdoor auctions at his Lower Kingsburg, Nova Scotia salt water farm. As an auction highlight, Chris had arranged a special tribute to Sidney in honour of his birthday. I have many fond memories of Sid and miss him terribly. The world is so much smaller without his shining and ever vibrant presence.

Like a good many other Cape Bretoners, I have had an on and off relationship with the island of my birth. This ritual of "coming and going" seems to be an inherent behaviour of island people in general. Thus far, I have left the island and returned five times - initially as a youth of 13 with my parents and brothers in the wake of the economic blow to the island known as Black Friday - the closure of the local steel plant. To mark this significant turning point in Cape Breton history my parents struck a "Black Friday" medal, now highly collectible.

Two years later we returned to the island and settled in the tiny village of Baddeck on the shores of the Bras d'or Lakes. My parents have since made Baddeck their home, and my older brother has built a highly successful business and raised his beautiful family here, without cause or desire for leaving. My younger brother and I found it necessary to leave and as a result have ventured into many divergent areas of interest, both out of neccesity and intrigue.

Other than the obvious economic necessity, my personal reasons for leaving the island are complex, varied and seemingly irrational. Suffice to say that I embarked on a journey of wanderlust and self-exploration - my reasons for returning being equally as complex and seemingly irrational as those for the act of leaving.


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