"Let’s not busy ourselves with the technical “wheres” and “whens.” Instead, let’s just start with one undeniable truth: Most creators start young, and most finish that way.
Once at a gallery showing, I watched his installation from afar. I remember thinking about how little he needed me, his friend, to contribute or to support him. I knew he wanted me there, but I stood, looking through a hallway. I would occasionally catch his heel and the back of his hat. He swayed, talking to the many people taking the time to experience his work. He was without pretense or self-consciousness.
Dave’s humor, among other things, is a quick-witted, quiet candor. If you miss a joke, statement or commentary, then you don’t get it back. You just have to wait and to listen for the next episode. You won’t have to wait for long. That’s why on this particular day, I watched, a hallway away, sitting on the couch in the vestibule. I sat there, watching people meet him for the first time.
When most stepped away, you could tell, they did so with a hesitance. I liked to try to guess if the pause in their step was from what they’d just heard or what they just saw.
I walked over once the crowd subsided. I handed him a flask, and he took a sip. Before we spoke, he let me stare like the others. I’ve seen five-thousand of his works at this point and more since, yet he let me stare like the others. At any point in time, I see bits and pieces of each of his previous creations in each new finished product. He didn’t speak, as if I was anyone else who walked over to him. He let me stare like the others.
There’s a unique perseverance within his repetition, an organic familiarity, tracing each stroke and a critical honesty behind each face (all of them have a face, even if you haven’t seen it yet).
He grew up in a little town called Earl, about an hour and a half outside of Philadelphia, PA. He went to a tiny liberal arts college a half an hour from Harrisburg, PA.
But, let’s end with another undeniable truth: Most creators start young and most finish that way. Dave will not finish that way."