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Los Angeles Artist David Hinnebusch Press Clippings
"Vietnam" 24 x 72 in. acrylic on wood (black and white face by artist Jules Muck) - at The Wall Street Journal, NYC 2013
David Hinnebusch art in
Des toiles qui parlent
Santa Monica, California
Painting live for Puma Shoes (more live painting events)
from the LA Weekly New People Issue 2008:
For Santa Monica painter David Hinnebusch, artistic exploration has evolved over his 43 years mostly as a solo endeavor. Although he says he has been blessed with amazing friends and supporters throughout his life, he will be the first to tell you that he’s always felt like an outsider.
As a burgeoning African linguistics scholar, Hinnebusch’s father moved his wife and three children, of which David is the eldest, from Pittsburgh to Tanzania, back to Pittsburgh, then Kenya, and finally accepted a professorship at UCLA. Hinnebusch recalls growing up in Africa with mixed emotions. “I was one of the only white kids, but it was the European kids who were picking on him. It was always ‘Yank’ this, and ‘Yank’ that.” However, traveling back and forth between the United States and Africa during the political tumult of the late ’60s did serve to develop David’s worldly and inquisitive nature at a very green age. He remembers a question he posed to his father at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport. “I was about 4, and while we were waiting to get on a plane, I went to my father and asked ‘Dad, who’s crazier, Idi Amin or Richard Nixon?’ I think he was stunned.”
As an outlet between the ages of 5 and 11, young David wrote and illustrated his own stories, creating a collection of books filled with the kind of words and imagery that make child psychologists salivate — particularly one storybook written in Nairobi, the title of which reads as a testament to the teasing's of his youth: The War Boys of U.S.A.
This brand of heavy introspection followed Hinnebusch through his teenage years as a student at West L. A.’s University High, and manifested in depression, eventually leading to heavy drug use. Bad drugs. The kind of drugs that his professor father and microbiologist mother would not tolerate. From his account, his parents finally broke through their parental denial and confronted him in 1986 on the day the Challenger shuttle exploded. “I was sucked and had no reaction to this gigantic, horrific disaster. That’s when they really saw what was going on.” With their help, Hinnebusch struggled through many relapses to eventually reach sobriety in 1989.
Since then, he has been dedicated to his painting. His work can be likened to that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, if Basquiat had lived on the West Coast, been white and succeeded in kicking his heroin habit.
For a brief stint in the late ’90s, after attending the Santa Monica College of Design Art & Architecture for two years, Hinnebusch could be seen selling paintings on the Venice boardwalk, but skin cancer and peer annoyance drove him out of that arena, which was probably for the best. Enough people had already been exposed to his work, however, to generate a strong word-of-mouth following. When reviewing this year’s L. A. Weekly annual biennial, coagula.livejournal.com, wrote, “Even David Hinnebusch was there, so you know it was a scene.”
His projects are numerous, and his thought process scattered — evident in the way he’s built his Web site, fakeart.net, which has a haywire, John Forbes Nash–like layout and equally vexing navigation. But Hinnebusch has put tidbits of most of his endeavors online, in some form or another. He designs a line of clothing adorned with his illustrations, and is the proprietor of a custom surfboard company. He still sings (screams?) in Sunset Strip nightclubs with Entropy, the skater-hardcore punk band he formed in 1983, named after Jeremy Rifkin’s controversial 1980 book Entropy: A New World View.
Most importantly, Hinnebusch adds to the landscape of Santa Monica simply by being part of it. His wide, exceptionally charming grin can be seen from across the room at gallery openings, and he possesses such on-point charisma and impressionable confidence, one could imagine he acquired his magnetism almost as a survival trait (he does seem to have many admirers belonging to the fairer of the sexes).
I asked Hinnebusch if he has any enemies, a question that made him pause and sit back in his chair. His answer included his signature lemons-to-lemonade spin: “Well, there was this one guy who really hated me. He would always walk past me on Venice and yell out, ‘How’s it going with your fake art?’ But I actually liked that phrase so much, I took it as my trademark. So it all worked out.”
LA WEEKLY L.A.PEOPLE 08 ISSUE
Photo by Rena Kosnett
LA2DA November 2006
Santa Monica Mirror September 2006
|Malibu Magazine May 2003|
The Argonaut 1998
Alexander Eliot Write Up
Lisa Adams Write Up
David Hinnebusch was my student in 1998 at the Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture, where at first I found him to be annoying and insistent. These types of students can be nightmares. However the redeeming thing about David, was the fact that he would do anything, try anything, take any amount of shit off anyone, was not afraid to make an ass of himself, had a bizarre sense of humor and above all he persisted in just doing his work.
When I think back I thought he was either truly mad or he really wanted something out of the experience of art making or perhaps both. He was like a child who could barely take direction and I did try to give him direction. I think the only thing I might have actually succeeded in doing was introducing him to the work of Francesco Clemente, who at the time was like a God to me. (In my opinion, Clemente's later work went down hill fast when he started making less than mediocre portraits of his rich friends.)
After school I lost track of David, only to rediscover him casually a couple of years later at an opening. He looked so crazy to me and since I actually knew him a bit I thought to myself do I really want to be engaged by this guy again? I guess I did. We talked for a while and as usual David was always very nice to me and seemed to have allot of respect for me. It's hard to ice someone who genuinely seems to like you for whatever reason.
He told me that he was currently showing his work, selling his work and to some extent making his work on the Venice boardwalk. Now this really interested me, in part because I had always thought that doing so might be a great "performance piece" for a highly trained, sophisticated artist from one of the confirmed country club schools and in part because I would never have the guts to do such a thing myself. It might also be a trip just to see how people might react and how they would treat an artist such as David. What would they think of someone in that position, someone seriously doing their work on the boardwalk?
A couple of weeks later I went to the Venice boardwalk with a date and came upon David's set up. The date was an artist known for his career in the late eighties and early nineties when artists thought allot about career maneuvers and the money that could be made. Needless to say the date was uncomfortable and probably mortified when I fully engaged David that day about his work and the fact that he chose to "inhabit" the boardwalk Thursday through Sunday every week. That alone imPRESSed me.
After many subsequent discussions with David I believe that his work is very simple; it is about following his interests, of which David has plenty. David is not a good editor of his own work and I'm not convinced he should be one either. His work is about something other than making the right moves to imPRESS, to sell or to maintain consistency. I am convinced that making use of the Venice boardwalk was a brilliant and intuitive action on his part. It seems that the chaos the boardwalk provides, day in and day out, is a clear external manifestation of David's internal lan ape. Visually, David reminds me of the Venice/urban version of Matta, slightly gone wrong.
There's a story that Max Ernst got fed up with living in New York City and decided to head west with his then wife Dorothea Tanning. When they arrived at Sedona, Arizona Ernst suddenly realized that he'd come upon the place he'd been painting about all these years, never knowing that such a place actually existed in reality until that moment. They settled there and he lived out the rest of his natural life.
This is what I think happened to David. He'd been making art about the kind of chaos one finds on the Venice boardwalk and never truly made the connection until he put himself there. It seems that his work is given a fuller understanding by virtue of the context the boardwalk provides.
By his admission David is an exhibitionist but he claims that he makes his work in "private time." Working and exhibiting on the boardwalk seems to provide a venue for both aspects of his person. He says that he paints his Paintings on the boardwalk to pass the time and that in essence it is no different than working in his studio. He is able to close out the external chaos enough to focus on the internal one. David is a person of porous boundaries, maybe few boundaries altogether and working in the manner that he does is smart. It allows him to just be, see and be seen and do whatever interests him within a context which itself is porous. David's work engenders the spirit of the Venice boardwalk and in turn the boardwalk provides David with more than perhaps even he is aware of.
Entropy "No Talking Through The Fence", L.A.Time's City Desk
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