David Lawrence, Evolving Genius
Junious Ricardo Stanton
It is fascinating watching an artist grow, expand his or her consciousness and use this personal growth to further develop their craft over time. It is rare when an artist is so influential he or she creates a singular movement all his or her own or becomes part of a newly emerging movement. In many ways David Lawrence is a forerunner in a cultural movement of Black artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers called Afrofuturism.
Afrofuturism weaves African motifs, spirituality, mysticism, symbols with modern technology creating a vision of African redemption, ascendance and transformation. I met David Lawrence almost thirty years ago and was deeply impressed by his work because it was strikingly unique and eye catching. It featured Africans, images of planets, pyramids, geometric shapes and symbols blended with indigenous patterns.
David always knew he was destined to be an artist. To pursue his dream and develop his talents the Brooklyn native attended the New York High School of Art and Design, Long Island University majoring in illustration, art and marketing and subsequently the Art Students League of New York. He subsequently migrated to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to set up shop.
David Lawrence is best known for what he calls pyramidism a multi-media art form combining and mixing water colors, acrylics, pastels, African figurines, symbology, indigenous art patterns and motifs with a unique metaphysical and spiritual flavor. In recent years David branched out incorporating astronomy and images of the cosmos into his work. Now he is venturing into blending healing crystals and earth stones into his paintings.
Elaborating on the significance of his new artistic direction Lawrence said, “I’ve been focusing on a new direction in terms of my art; how do we heal ourselves through art? So I have a new series out called the crystallization series. For the last couple of years I’ve combined the cosmologies of our forefathers’ studies of the cosmos mixed with studies of crystals and the healing effects of crystals. I work on acrylic glass which creates a translucent effect because you can see through it like stained glass. I’m using mixed media so I’m layering it. I start out with water colors, then I go into it with acrylics, oils pastels and sparkles and all of that creates a symbiotic movement of nature. Then when I finish with all of that, I put agate stones and crystals on top of that, blending it in. I put the crystals on last that blends in with the movement of the painting.”
Using agate stones and crystals is an original and purposeful touch. It is designed to be both educational and healing. He is doing research on the healing power of crystals, the origin of agate stones and passing it on to the people who see and buy his art. His goal is to get them to do research as well.
“I didn’t know much about crystals until I started doing research. If it’s important for you to heal yourself from stress and have a peaceful environment within yourself then it is important for you to do the research.”
Embedding crystals into his artwork is his way to positively impact the environment, project healing energy and affect change. “I have a painting called Ascension. I feel as an artist it is my job is to help you ascend from where you are. When people look at the painting they say ‘I feel more relaxed, it makes me feel more serine more at peace.’ They didn’t know that they are going to feel that way; the painting took them into a relaxed state of mind.”
“My paintings are designed to make you feel that way the moment you see the painting. No two people are exactly alike so their responses will be different. There are certain main things I want to accomplish, I want to accomplish a sense of relaxation to release you from your everyday stress. I want to use it just like yoga and meditation are used as a vehicle to help you relax to distress you. My painting is a vehicle to do the same things yoga and meditation do.”
Lawrence like many creative people says his inspiration comes freely through intuition. “My crystallization series takes a lot shorter time to make as opposed to the pyramidism because I’m letting nature do most of the work. When I put the water colors down, the fluidity of the water colors creates the composition. The acrylics shape it, I may see a person in it or I might see animals in it and I shape those things that I want to bring out through other mediums. I let nature shape it. I let it sit overnight, let it dry I apply the colors but nature is making the movement. I’m allowing intuition to lead me. I have total confidence and faith that my intuition will lead me through the whole process.”
Lawrence’s work is exhibited around the United States in numerous galleries as well as in Europe in countries like Spain and Italy. In addition to his art, Lawrence also is partnering with Gallerie Isada gallery and museum in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia located at 3320 Collins Street between E. Onterio and E. Westmorland Streets where he serves as the curator.
His limited edition work is available Online via October Gallery’s Website www.octobergalleries.com .