C. David Swanson grew up inthe small town of Dundee, Illinois, forty-five minutes northwest of Chicago. The Fox River runs through town, separating East and West Dundee, along which also ran the railroad and a handful of brown brick factory buildings. These Midwestern fixtures, together with their human inter-actors, rural agricultural surroundings, Lake Michigan, and Chicago itself, presented the images that have inspired Swanson’s artwork throughout his life.
Like most children, he began drawing before he could read; the difference was that by the age of six, his drawings and watercolors had a quality that set them apart from his classmates. In first grade, he was already being recognized by teachers, and upper classmen as having a talent for art. Throughout his primary and secondary school years, he became widely known for his artistic abilities, turning his hand to stage scenery, posters, programs, yearbook cover illustration, as well as winning several awards for his artwork at the junior high and high school levels. With the encouragement and help of his high school art teacher, Mrs. Flowers, he began his formal art education at The Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) after graduation.
Over the years, David has produced many artworks of rural and small town Montana, and America in general. He considers himself to be a contemporary realist, in the American Regionalist tradition. He has accomplished two major series. The first, Route 66: A Painter’s Journey, harkens back to the migration of his own family to Southern California, when he was eighteen. The second, Sweat & Steel, was a major touring exhibition in Montana; paintings of railroaders doing the work of railroading. He continues to do works of Americana, structure-scapes, landscapes, figurative subjects and portraits. Articles on David and his work have been published in major magazines. He has won several awards, and has artworks in museum, corporate, and private collections, in the US, Canada and the UK.