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C. David Swanson

Artist Statement I, 2012


       Above all, I am compelled by the America I have experienced in my lifetime.  It is not a sequence of experience necessarily, but rather an accumulation of images and meaning that excites me:  the red brick of a downtown rail yard, the lone heroic form of a grain elevator on the prairie, the black cars of a coal train slicing through the endless undulations of this enormous land.  These recollections combine with impressions of the people, at work or not, amid the structures we make to house ourselves and our businesses.  Maybe it’s the solitary figure of a young woman walking down a sun drenched brick block somewhere in Kansas along the old Mother Road.  Or maybe it’s a locomotive mechanic peering into the engine bay of the steel behemoth, or teens sitting around a flag pole of the post office in a small town.  This is what inspires me as subject matter for the work that I do.  I paint and draw, in an effort to capture the ineffable perfection in the fleeting glimpses and glances of light on the moments of life.  They will never be repeated, but memory is as good a chronicler as any.  My joy comes through the challenge of making pictures of these things with thick oil color, line, and contrast; transmuting nature to canvas and paint, paper and charcoal, or shimmering watercolor. 


            This is my American experience comprised of Dust Bowl ballads, Youngstown steel mills, Hopper’s Sunday mornings, and John Steuart Curry’s baptisms in Kansas…Kerouac's Big Pop Vision, and highway loneliness.  So I paint.




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