Serenade by David Fiveash
Serenade, An Interview with Artist David Fiveash
By Jeremy Joven
Published Jul 2014
In celebration of Pride Month, we at Asterisk would like to invite you to immerse yourself in the Queer Art Scene of the Bay Area starting with our Q & A with local artist David Fiveash. Asterisk Gallery is proud to present his never before seen series 'Serenade' this month, opening June 20th. Over 50 portraits will be shown; seductive, detailed, and beyond suggestive, these portraits often depict beauty in the most unlikely action showing vulnerability and emotion often overlooked and unseen for it's more sexual appeal. (EVENT INVITE & RSVP HERE) David's meticulous drawing style and color use highlights the softer, ephemeral beauty that lies behind the act of giving and receiving pleasure. At first looking at these portraits your mind wanders about how the artist managed to get all these gents to agree to such a portrait. Secondly, where they all came from and third... who are they looking at? All those thoughts, though exhillirating to think about get overshadowed easily by the feeling that washes over you once you really look in to each and every portrait; seeing the delicate nature in the way the artist portrayed the men with his color use. The expressive eyes longing for something it already has and this deep sense in you thinking - this is so deep, there is so much more happening here than what meets the eye - and you're right. It is much more than doing a "job". Artist David Fiveash captures that intimate envelopment like nothing on watercolor pencil and paper done before him, celebrating pleasures taboo to many and celebrated by a some. Tell us how the series Serenade started? Serenade started as a curiosity. I wondered what it would look like and so I made a few drawings based on images found online. I have this compulsive need to draw and when i get a subject that will hold my interest and has plenty of availability I grab it and get easily hooked. The desire to keep making heavily outweighs the nagging question of "why?" That will always come later. If I feel it works, I will continue; if not, I move on. What inspired you to draw these delicate faces in the heat of such a sexual act? As the series continued, personality became more important than the sex act. It became portraiture very quickly. The pleasant colors give it a visual ease and draw one in to a very intimate moment. One sees the eyes, the expression of the face, the mental and emotional state of the person performing this act, intentionally submitting to this physical appendage of another person. It very literally silences them, makes them a receptacle with a mind but no means to express personal identity. I am very interested in exploring that self-less state of existence. What would you say to those people who think it is lewd? Lewd is so unmusical a word. That which is lewd is not in the image at all, but only in the imagination. I think, in art, it is very easy to confuse sexuality with pornography. To me these works are about looking into the mind of a person who is choosing to be documented in a way in which he believes provides him with identity and desire, and the conflictions that arise in that moment. How do you think this series represents you as an artist who traditionally works with nature still lives and portraits? For the last few years my work has concentrated on Still Life, but also Portraiture. In my Still Life works, I'm often thinking about the fragility of the subject matter, its closeness to death, and its need to serve its purpose. A flower has only one purpose, to entice, to create an experience we call beauty, and then it dies. Procreation links the task from one flower to the next. Human beings are the same. We fill our time with all these other needs but then we die just like the flowers do. I think that's why I'm so interested in flowers, they are selfless. They have no need for any explanation. The grow, create beauty, and then they die. Judging by the series - you celebrate vulnerabilities, even showcase them… Tell us more about the meaning behind the series - Serenade? Vulnerability is nothing but the deconstruction of the self. We are vulnerable when the self is exposed as an artificial construction, designed to help us cope with our physical insignificance. In this way, intimacy is the ultimate vulnerability. When this mental construction meets physical reality it can have traumatic consequences. Perhaps that is what makes sexuality so difficult a subject for some people. There is definitely a sexual theme here, but more so, an urge for intimacy. Their elements of scale, color scheme, and specificity hopefully bring that together. I have had a lot of fun making this series and i hope others enjoy them as well.