Flying Planes and Talking Paint With David Molesky

I met David Molesky on a flight headed out of San Francisco to Atlanta. Somewhere between ascendance and landing, the two of us got to talking. Although naturally subject to the gloss of travel-laden body heat and far too cramped quarters of the airplane, I managed to acquaint myself with the D.C. native turned San Franciscan that sat next to me. He told me of his years as a painter, sharing anecdotes of the artistic journey and where he found himself situated today. Only when the wheels at last touched the Georgia turf did we cease the conversation. Days later, I found the words exchanged still on my mind. I felt compelled to share their resonance, the personality behind, and the accompanying, captivating body of work he called his own.

Before even seeing his paintings, it was quiet obvious that Molesky was a credible artist. As far as I am concerned, the character of the artist is just as valuable as the art; in his case, neither team seemed to be lacking. He painted as much a verbal picture as he did with that on the canvas. So, when the iPhone was finally pulled out and the paintings themselves were at hand, the enthralling visuals fell not short of my expectations. Matching the actual depiction with his prior descriptions – the raging waters, engulfing fires, busied cities, lone owls, or mystical horses that he had spoken of – all translated with a graceful ease and bountiful brush to the canvas.


Telling of long days and mad nights painting in his San Francisco studio, Molesky’s passion feels more like a forever rampant force. With years of painting and traveling behind him, a Berkeley education in Fine Arts and Molecular Cell Biology to boast, and a mass of work that has touched continents and art aficionados worldwide, the breadth of the artist resides as enchanting as the art itself.


The rest, I leave to the artist himself to share. Read below as I talk with David Molesky about his art today, his inspiration, and the craft that he can’t seem to contain.

Art Nouveau: How did David Molesky the artist come about? When and where did you plant your artistic roots?

David Molesky: I was a serious but goofy kid.  I sometimes wore a tie and blazer to elementary school.  I cleared out my parent’s coat closet and converted it to my private studio, after squeezing in my toddler-sized desk.

I got into painting in high school.  Me and my friends would hang out and paint together.  The learning curve was the quickest then and I still pretty much paint the same, only I have more tricks up my sleeve.

I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad to give my passions for art and science and equal chance.  Painting won as it always does.  Later I moved up and down the west coast following loves and art and landing in different scenarios by magical chance with one great practitioner of painting after another.


AN: What was a particularly defining moment for you?

DM: When I was living on the Big Sur coastline, I fell in love with painting water and this is where I had my first taste of real commercial success.


AN: From where do you draw inspiration? 

DM: I draw inspiration from the act of painting and drawing mostly.  Reading also introduces new ideas that I might not have otherwise.  And now the internet, even just my Facebook news stream from my many artist friends packs a punch of interesting ideas.  But I never feel more inspired than when I am in my studio, laying out a new palette, starting a new painting, with music going, good lighting, some warm espresso or matte.  That’s really the best.

AN: How do you formulate and expand on the content of your collections? 

DM: As I am working on a series of paintings, I begin to hone into certain aspects and qualities more than others.  For me, a sun nap on the roof after lunch is often the best time to have dream up a new idea.


AN: What are you working on at the moment? 

DM: Finishing the painting Girl with a Dead Raven.  Its going into a show in less than a week.  After that, I’ve got to make some new paintings for a show at the Long Beach Art Museum that will provide a transition to a new body of work with an apocalyptic theme.


AN: Who or what is your muse? 

DM: Nature