Mary Martin Gallery is pleased to represent David Michael Beck and will be featuring shows of his many different styles. "I have long admired David's work in his many different genres. I love his beautiful landscapes, I love his magical series, and I love his illustrations in children's books as well as his notariety in Science Fiction. I love the creative mind, and David is the epitome of creativity, talent, and imagination which is an irrestible combination for me." Mary Martin
David began his 35-year career in illustration in Chicago in 1972. He worked in small in-house art departments, studios, and design firms illustrating in a variety of mediums from watercolor, gouache, acrylics and oils, to full tonal pencil, and pen & ink. In addition, he pounded the streets procuring additional freelance work.
This range of working experience lead him into various markets of illustration which included advertising, book publishing, editorial, institutional, entertainment and graphic design. His personal artistic exploration covered European, American, and Oriental painting, as well as folk, and modern art, sculpture, architecture, and contemporary illustration.
David's great strength as a conceptual artist, as well as his masterful technical skills, has developed a visual voice quite unlike any other in the field of illustration. The underlying editorial, narrative themes evident in his work won acceptance with many Fortune 500 companies, and high profile periodicals. In recent years, he has developed an impressive body of work in genre illustration covering adventure, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comic books.
David has accrued numerous awards of excellence from The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts Magazine, Print, and other regional and national competitions. His original artwork hangs in the private collections of such notables as George Lucas, Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead rock band, Bill Cosby, Hugh and Christy Hefner, and the American Italian Museum.
David's client list has included The Boy Scouts of America, Playboy Enterprises, Hasbro Toy Company, Delta and United Airlines, The America's Cup Campaign, The Grammy Awards, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Anheuser-Bush, Miller Brewing Co., Dow Jones, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Coca-Cola, Sony Entertainment, The Grateful Dead, Marvel, DC, TopCow, and Dark Horse Comics.
David has always been generous in giving back to his chosen field by teaching young artists in workshops, and lectures with such institutions as The Syracuse University Satellite Program, The Dallas Community Collage, The College of Medical Illustration, The Cincinnati Art Academy, The Cleveland Art Institute, and The Cincinnati Art Institute.
David was born in Springfield, Illinois in the year 1950. His academic training was with Wright State University, The American Academy of Art, and The Chicago Academy of Fine Art.
"Billy Joe and Bobby Sue were Sweethearts Part II" 24 x 36 Oil on Panel and Giclee
"Key West Afternoon" 16 x 28 Mixed Media on Board
"Rainbow Flamingo" 16 x 24 Mixed Media on Board
"Third Race at Hialeah" 13 x 39 Mixed Media on Board
"Tequila Moonrise" 24” x 36” oil on wood panel
"The Blue Oak" 30x24 Oil/Panel
"Night on the Town" 36 x 24 Mixed Media on Board
"The Last Golden Mouse" 24x36 Giclee
"Where the Fire Meets the Sea" 24 x 36 oil on canvas
"Race to High Knob" 14 x 12 Oil on Panel
"Land's End" 30x48 oil on canvas
“The Old Elm at Anderson Point” 28x22 Oil/Canvas
"Gnarl" 30x24 Oil/Linen
"Windsong" 24"x30" Oil on Wood Panel
"Early Morning on the Lake" 24"x30" Oil on Canvas
"Coastal Nocturne" 24 x 30 Oil on Wood Panel
"The Gate was Left Open" 11 x 14 Oil on Panel
"Midwestern Afternoon" 22x28 Oil/Canvas
Bent and Twisted 36x24 Oil/Wood Panel
"Love Letter" 24 x 18 Oil on Canvas
"The Grateful Dead- Celebration Dance" 24x36 Oil/Panel
"The Greatful Dead-Rising" 24x36 - Giclees Avail Upon Request - Orig SOLD
"Sycamore II" 24 x 24 Oil on Panel
Fat Cat 28x22 Giclee
"Sycamore I" 18 x 24 Oil on Panel
"Stravinskys Firebird Suite" 24x36 Oil/Linen
"The Amazing Carolina Airmen" 24x 36 Oil/Panel
"Sunday Afternoon on South Shore" 24x36 Giclee
"Saturday Night Ride into Louden" 24x36 Oil/Panel
"Summer In Ohio" 24x36 Oil/Canvas
"Brush Creek" 24x36 Oil/Canvas
"Night at the Theater" 24 x 36 Embellished Giclee
"My work is an exploration of light, mood, perspective and composition. Much of my imagery is derived from personal experience and my interest in the narrative. It is intended to provoke thought and often to entertain. The wide range of my work reflects my many interests—from my contemporary narrative to traditional landscape, from realism to the didactic--each piece is executed in traditional painting technique."
Grounded in classical traditional art training, David Michael Beck approaches each painting with the integrated inspiration of the greatest artists of the past.
In the past decade or so, traditional styles have been over shadowed by the onslaught of the digital age. Today we see a broad return by artists to disciplines of classical tradition, and narrative themes in the execution of fine art—no matter how untraditional the art may be.
David’s many years of experience enable him to refine his imagery to the highest level—no matter which genre he may be rendering. His journey through multiple genres is a testament to his extensive appreciation of the visual arts, as well as his discipline in studying the masters and creating his own visual voice.
The story of the 1987 “Heart of America Challenge”
A chance spotting of an old America's Cup poster leads to a charming tale of how the competition used to be.
by Jim Carrier
The other day, on a sidewalk outside a thrift store in Madison, Wis., a framed poster propped against the window stopped me in my tracks. It showed a sailboat barreling toward me on a port tack - through a wheat field!
The price was $7.
“I hope you bought it,” laughed Buddy Melges, the venerable sailor, when I called him at his home in Lake Geneva. Melges, it turns out, was at the helm of the boat.
The artwork captured beautifully a remarkable and unique sailing adventure in U.S. history - a home-grown Midwestern attempt to win the America’s Cup.
In a year when billionaires battle for the cup with Star-Wars-ish flying machines on San Francisco Bay, the story of the 1987 “Heart of America Challenge” is a charming if melancholy tale of what sailing competitions used to be.
In 1983, after Australia wrested the cup from the U.S., indignant sailors all over America mounted campaigns to get it back. Gene Kinney of the Chicago Yacht Club asked Melges to lead an effort, one of seven from the U.S.
Harry “Buddy” Melges, famous for producing inland boats at his family plant in Zenda, Wisconsin, relished challenging not only Australia but also the sailing establishment on both American coasts, who, he once said labeled him, “this hack from the Midwest.”
While lawyers somehow convinced a New York court that Lake Michigan was an “arm of the sea” and could serve as a defender’s turf should they win the cup, Melges pulled together shoestrings to gather a team and raise $6 million to build a new 12-meter boat and get to Australia.
“It was a little bit here, little bit there” Melges remembered. At one point the team was clearing $15,000 a week from T-shirts alone. The largest single gift, $1 million, came from the telephone company MCI Communications.
Leo Burnett, the Chicago advertising firm that created “Marlboro country,” and Pillsbury’s “nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven,” campaigns, came aboard. Art directors John Eding and Ted Bell soon came up with the idea of a sailboat in a wheat field, and hired Chicago illustrator David Beck to create it.
Beck spent a day in a chase boat on Lake Michigan taking pictures of the crew training on a borrowed yacht, and found the drama of tacking through blowing wheat. An original idea of a cove stripe pitchfork was changed to a wheat shaft.
At the yacht club unveiling, “it was like rock star applause - I’d never experienced anything like that,” Beck recalled. Everyone loved it, with the exception of Gov. Jim Thompson who wanted the boat sailing in corn stalks, Illinois’ leading farm crop. Beck talked him out of it.
The poster was sold for $100, or $500 signed by Melges, skipper Gary Jobson and Beck. They went like hotcakes. Beck was never paid by Burnett, but sold two additional originals to corporate sponsor Ciba-Geigy, and for years received agriculture commissions.
“I did guys standing in wheat fields and corn fields and a plethora of crops,” he said by phone from Cincinnati where he is now a well-known illustrator.
Jobson, who left the campaign to broadcast the 1987 cup for ESPN, calls it the best America’s Cup poster ever done. The campaign was also one of a kind.
“Eighty-seven was mostly an amateur contest,” he said. The boats were crewed by nationals, it was the last of the 12-meter yachts in the cup, there were still a couple of wood boats competing against aluminum and glass, and the money was chump change compared to today’s races. Melges went to Australia in 1986 with $3 million in cash and a contingent of 40 people.
“We did a lot of work with the crew, the old Midwestern way, from the ground up,” Melges said. “They were a bunch of kids. We went after guys that had structure, who could get on the handles.”
One who had that “structure” was Larry Mialik of Madison, a tight end for the University of Wisconsin who went on to play pro football. Melges had remembered a radio broadcast in which Mialik had caught a touchdown pass against Ohio State. He called him up.
“I grew up not knowing how to spell yacht,” said Mialik. “Buddy said, ‘meet me in Chicago tomorrow in front of the Chicago Tribune.’ And there was the Heart of America and the governor’s wife with the champagne and a bunch of guys in blue blazers. It was life changing.” Mialik, who earned $70 a week to grind for Melges, became a racing pro.
The 26th America’s Cup, broadcast live to the U.S. for the first time, left Heart of America 8th out of 13 challengers to take on Australia’s Kookaburra III. Jobson said the Midwesterners got better with every race. In the end they lacked $200,000 for a new main and jib for the final round-robin Louis Vuitton series.
“In the end we were one of the four fastest. We just didn’t have enough points,” said Melges, who is now 83. Dennis Connor, whose syndicate Sail America took three boats to Australia, came home with the cup.
Four years later, the world had changed. Melges won the cup for Bill Koch, with a $62 million budget and staff of 240 people, including eight of his Heart of America crew.
Knowing Buddy’s penchant for colorful quotes, I asked his view of this year’s America’s Cup.
“Before, it was a slow moving program, what sailing was all about: tactics, defending your position, boat handling. It’s a drag race now. Pedal down and go like a raped ape.”
You have seen David Michael Beck's work before.
David Michael Beck has been a professional artist for over 30 years. With creative roots in Chicago, he now produces highly refined narrative as well as traditional art. David uses various methods and concepts to produce his visions which are based on styles he has learned from such art forms as European, American, oriental, folk, cubism, sculpture and architecture. David has worked in other various art fields such as advertising, editorial, publishing, entertainment, and teaching. He continues his work in many professional and graphic art fields as well as developing his children's book visual voice. His client list is extensive. David has produced illustrations for such notables as The American Medical Association, Boy Scouts of America, Walt Disney Productions, McDonald's, Anheuser-Bush, Playboy Enterprises, United Airlines, Land's End, Simon & Schuster, Hasbro Toys, Universal Pictures, Dow Jones, Bloomberg Financial, Lucasfilm, Jacor Broadcasting, Warner Cable, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, The America's Cup, The Grammy Awards, Harper-Collins, The Grateful Dead and Warner Brothers and comic book favorites such as Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Chaos! Comics, Top Cow Productions, Star Wars Publishing, Devil's Due and Image Publishing. And that's the short list! His paintings have been included in national and international traveling exhibitions such as The New York Illustration Express, The Art of the Baseball Card, and Illustrators and Their Automobiles. Celebrities Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Hugh Hefner, Christy Hefner, Bill Cosby, and Secretary of State Donald Rumsfield have purchased paintings for display in home and office. David has received awards from Print Regional Design, Communication Arts, The American Society of Business Press Editors, The Artist Guild of Chicago, The Art Directors Club of Cincinnati, a third place winner ribbon at the World Science Fiction Show, as well as "Awards of Excellence" from the Society of Illustrators. "Sketch Magazine" dedicated one of their monthly issues to the artistic accomplishments and work of David Michael Beck. David continues to teach hopeful, young artists in illustration workshops and through lectures at such high-profile institutions as Syracuse University Satellite Program, Dallas Community College, the American College of Medical Illustrators, the Cleveland Art Institute, the Cincinnati Art Institute and the Cincinnati Art Academy. David continues a life-long dedication to painting by producing pieces at the local, national, and international level.
Mary Martin Gallery is pleased to represent David and will be featuring shows of his many different styles. "I have long admired David's work in his many different genres. I love his beautiful landscapes, I love his magical series, and I love his illustrations in children's books as well as his notariety in Science Fiction. I love the creative mind, and David is the epitome of creativity, talent, and imagination which is an irrestible combination for me." Mary Martin
David is experienced in painting comic images which he produces for major comic book companies such as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image and others. He has also produced illustrations for such notables as The American Medical Association, Boy Scouts of America, Walt Disney Productions, Anheuser-Bush, Playboy Enterprises, Hasbro Toys, Universal Pictures, Warner Cable, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, The Grammy Awards, Harper-Collins, The Grateful Dead and Warner Brothers among many others. In his recent forays into the comics field he has worked with Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Chaos! Comics, Top Cow Productions, and Image Publishing His realistic paintings of SPIDER-MAN, THOR, LADY DEATH, the G.I. JOE characters, RED STAR, VAMPIRELLA, and George Lucas' STAR WARS Properties have earned him a large body of fans of both national and international acclaim. Recently David has been working with DC comics.
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