Artist Profile: David H. Everett

David Everett is a California artist best known for his whimsical papier-mache pieces that are primarily Halloween and Christmas creations. A graphic designer, David’s creations are based on the inspiration he finds in vintage toys and traditional folk art images. Then he puts his own unique and twisted touch on them. He works primarily in the clay medium, sculpting each and every creation by hand. Each piece is gesso’d, painted in acrylics, sealed, details are added in oil paints, more sealing, staining, and then sealed again. As David writes on his web site, “It’s a lot of work, but each piece has its own individual character—one that will hopefully bring a smile to your face for many years to come.”

Q: What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’ve got a couple of snowmen I’m finishing up and then it will be time to start thinking about a line of spring creations to submit to my licensing company, ESC Trading.

Q: Why do you make art?
I have to. Honestly, I can’t imagine NOT creating art. It’s what I do, it’s what I’ve always done. I made my first apple-head doll when I was 9 years old and since then, I’ve never stopped creating.

Q: What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it tool?
I found these wonderful “shaper” tools at a big art store in Los Angeles. They are actually used for watercolors, but they make wonderful tools for putting details in the clay and papier-mâché that I use!

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I read every night before I go to bed. I probably read about 20 books a year. I love Anne Rice, Stephen King—and just about anything fun and “fluffy.” Right now I’m reading To Fetch a Thief, a detective story told through the eyes of a dog—fun stuff!

Q: What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?
This year, I went to Spain and Italy. I have to say that Florence was the most amazing city I have ever seen! To be surrounded by all that history and art was simply breathtaking.

Q: What’s the last thing you cooked?
Last night I made Meatloaf. I’m not a great cook, but I do pretty good with simple comfort foods.

Q: If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?
Only one color?!!! That’s tough! I would have to say orange. I painted my studio in oranges, yellows and blacks this year to help me stay in the Halloween mood all year long!

Q: Do you have a talisman/power garment/magical thing you wear?
No, but I do surround myself with the things that give me inspiration—music, Halloween decorations, and my Chihuahua named Gus.

Q: What’s your favorite place in all the world?
I love Sedona, Arizona. There is an energy there that just gets my creative juices flowing! It’s about 6 hours from my home, and simply one of the most beautiful places in the United States.

Q: What one thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
I have a real love for puppets and marionettes—I’ve loved them ever since I was a kid. I would like to do something that involves puppets—maybe join a puppet troupe!

Q: What’s the best day you’ve ever had?
Wow, tough question. Honestly, I try to live everyday as if it is a gift—which it is!

Q: What’s today’s Word to Live By?
Appreciate everything you have!

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Those little pink and white frosted animal cookies—and Britney Spears.

Q: What do you listen to when you create?
I listen to everything from Liza Minnelli to Marilyn Manson. I ALWAYS have my iPod on when I create. I have a collection of over 2500 CDs and am slowly getting them loaded in to my iPod, one at a time.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would love to fly. I actually HATE flying in a plane, so this way I could bypass the airlines and get to where I wanted to go. And as a bonus, I wouldn’t have to go through TSA and remove my shoes!

Q: With whom would you love to spend one day making art?
It’s got to be Tim Burton. To spend one day with him would be a dream come true. I would love to see how his creative process works—I just want a peek at what goes on inside that amazing brain of his.

Q: When is your favorite time of day?
If I can actually get my lazy backside out of bed, I love dawn. There is something so magical about watching the day begin and the possibilities that could unfold.

Q: What is on your workspace right now?
My workspace is a DISASTER right now! I’m too embarrassed to show any photos! After a marathon of creating over the last few months, it looks like a bomb exploded in my studio.

Q: What is your earliest memory?
I think the earliest I remember is that first day of Kindergarten. How traumatic that was!

Q: What is your least favorite technique that you still use anyway?
I hate putting on the primer coat of gesso! It is necessary to seal the pieces and makes a good, toothy surface for the light washes of acrylic that I use, but the undercoat is so boring! I usually try to line up a lot of pieces, put on some real upbeat music, and just plow through it.

Q: What’s your favorite tool or material?
I would have to say Celluclay is my material of choice. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and it is my “go to” papier-mâché. I’ve used a couple other brands, but I’ve found this is a very reliable and predictable material.

Q: What’s your one favorite material thing?
My iPhone. It is always with me and has become an extension of my own body! How did I ever live without it?

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for artists?
Do what you love to do and make what YOU feel passionate about. Use the internet and social media to network with other artists, but be careful not to let the internet get in the way of your journey. With blogs and social media, it is so easy to see what other artists are working on, how much they are selling, and how many friends they have on Facebook. I believe as artists, we want our art to be accepted and admired, and it is so easy to doubt what we are doing when we see other artists excelling at sales and gaining popularity. The business of making art is a business, but first and foremost it has got to be FUN! Do what you truly feel passionate about and enjoy what you make—the customers will feel that enthusiasm in everything you create.

Click here to visit David H. Everett’s web site Chicken Lips.



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