For David Buckingham, Los Angeles is the subject matter, and battered, colorful found metal is the medium, but this artist goes far beyond simple "found object" work. Roaming the high deserts of Southern California to acquire his raw materials, he's in search of the cast away, the discarded, the abandoned--objects with a previous life and the scars to prove it. The remains of old school buses, farm equipment, road signs, tractor parts, etc. are carted to his downtown Los Angeles studio where they are muscled into works of art with a bewildering array of power tools and sheer force of will.
Inspired by visual colloquialisms --street gangs, hand signs, handguns, muscle car logos, and text- Buckingham translates a lifetime of images pounded into him since he was young. Combining elegant decay with his own high / low vision, he creates his own specific vernacular.
David has exhibited all over the USA, and in Germany, Holland, Italy, London and Paris.
My work, in general, is about boundaries: finding where the line is, and then gently crossing it. I don’t actively court controversy, but there are those who find some of my subject matter challenging.
I’m an avid film fan, and for my pieces I select movie lines from films that have an edge, a darkness, a certain visceral appeal, like SQUEAL LIKE A PIG, BOY, from the rape scene in Deliverance. Or ME SO HORNY ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME, from Full Metal Jacket. Or ALL THE ANIMALS COME OUT AT NIGHT, from Taxi Driver. These are films that have worked their way into the national consciousness, as well as in everyday conversation. It is truly hilarious to watch people encounter the movie lines for the first time; invariably they end up acting out the scenes, complete with accents. That’s my definition of interactive.
The role of the gun in America is another one of my themes. This country was built on the gun, and here in Los Angeles it’s often still that way: I hear large-caliber gunshots on a regular basis and last week there was a wild shootout in my own neighborhood that left two men dead. Movie posters often feature a gun-toting hero/villain. The gun is a national icon, as American as apple pie and adultery. I started making assassins’ guns (“Sirhan Sirhan”, “Squeaky Fromme”, “Son of Sam”, Dan White”, “Mark David Chapman”, etc), then moved on to movie and television guns (“Dirty Harry”, “Barney Fife”, etc), then onto political guns (Dick Cheney’s shotgun). All of my guns are historically accurate and to scale. There are those who see the gun series and think I am some kind of gun nut, and others who see the guns as a very powerful anti-gun statement. I agree with them both.
Either way, I aim to provoke a reaction in the viewer, whether good or bad. I think all readings of my work are valid.