46 Floating, Naked Men In David Jester's Paintings
By Christopher Harrity
Jester's magical explorations of the effects of light and water on men's flesh have an anti-gravitational euphoria. Pictured: “Home”
David Jester was born in 1960, Palm Springs, Calif. Check both of his Instagam pages here, @surejest1121, and here, @davidmjester. David's work will be included in the Superfine LA show Feb. 14-17, 2019 at Magic Box at The Reef. Below, a statement from David on his work.
“I've been painting or drawing all my life. I was an only child and people today often ask if I was lonely. The truth is I never was nor did, because I always had Art. When I was in my thirties I decided to go to college and eventually got my MFA from Rutgers University, but it wasn’t until the last 2 years that I dedicated myself full time to Art. I live in San Diego, California, where the year round lifestyle heavily influences my work.
“This current series of paintings was inspired by gay life online, how we present ourselves to each other, how we treat each other, and the series is working towards showing how fine the line is between taste and discrimination in our little pool of people.
“The work started with a small group of archetypical behaviors but has expanded and become a snapshot of our community as I have experienced it. A family portrait if you will. Our community is so rich and diverse, and I can only paint so fast, but the series is slowly unfolding, each painting like a chapter in a very long story. Bears, Otters, Twinks, Daddies, Asians, Blacks, Latinos, Caucasians, Queers, Masculinity, Femininity, Judgement, Joy, Fear, Desire, Love, Curiosity, Sexuality, Exploration, Thrupples, Couples, Discrimination, Taste, Bondage, Submission, HIV, all have made an appearance in the story so far. We have family we are born with and family we choose as the saying goes. This series is my chosen family.
“When I was in school years ago I started painting guys in pools. When I was in school I did large installations where the viewer stepped into a room painted as a pool, viewing wall murals of gay guys in pools. The idea was about social inclusion – we are all in the same pool of humanity. Followers on Instagram sometimes compare my work to David Hockney. It used to get my goat because I paint nothing like him and I think the comparison is sometimes due to pool content. But as I thought about it, there is no doubt he was a huge influence on me. I remember seeing Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) when I was a kid and being in awe. There in the painting was the pool I felt I belonged to, the pool of gay men, portrayed and honored, out in the open, not hidden or something to be ashamed of. I felt accepted by the world through this single piece of Art.
“When I started painting full time again a few years ago the pool was a logical place to start. But times had changed. We were more accepted socially. I saw the pool metaphor as a way to isolate and highlight some interesting behaviors within the community. On top of that those who are inside the pool and those who are outside and the different viewpoints was fascinating to me. It is curious to me that after fighting for years for equality we often find ways to discriminate against each other now in the apps and online. I wanted to begin the series with basic behaviors, archetypes and that was the main focus for the first year. This year the works has been more about relationships and the beginnings of pieces about taste versus discrimination.
“I’ve just scratched the surface, really, this is going to be a long, long story. Our community is so rich and diverse, and I can only paint so fast. The process is long too, starting with concepts before working with the models, then drawing and painting. But, for the moment, I keep plodding forward.”