David Welker is an NYC based contemporary visual artist, best known for creating elaborate landscape murals and concert posters for bands like The Grateful Dead, Black Keys, Primus, Faith No More, and Muse. Sometimes colorful, sometimes dark, but always enigmatic and astoundingly detailed, his work is a challenge to classify: his illustrations blend depression era surrealism with a contemporary take on underground comics, while his hand rendered lettering mixes up 19th Century sign typography with modern graffiti, creating a unique style that can perhaps be best described as “modern, urban, psychedelic, folk art”.
Ranging from surrealistic fantasy landscapes to stark urban realism, his work over the last two decades has built a loyal following: every limited edition print he has ever released has sold out, some in as little as 16 seconds.
His career has followed a path of experimentation and genre jumping, the next step of which is his long-awaited entry into the gallery world. His first solo show, Subconscious Narratives, opens in New York City’s Hoerle-Guggenheim gallery on November 19th.
The show will feature a body of old and new original work, including artwork previously only available in poster or print version as well never before seen original paintings and drawings, brand new limited edition prints and mixed media prints.
Having spent the last several years immersed in conceptual realism, Welker now wants lets let go of the planning and structure involved in that technique, opting for a more improvisational form. As the name implies, Subconscious Narratives is introspective, an attempt to unveil the images hidden in Welker’s subconscious; to depict a thought before it becomes a word, concept, story or tangible form, the blueprint revealing itself only in hindsight.
There is a visual flow to the pieces, each of the elements merging with one another’s beginning, middle and end. In his own words, this is the closest representation of how his subconscious operates: “These studies are not isolated to one brief instant but instead capture the turmoil of forms transitioning in the mind from moment to moment. The paintbrush and mind play together in a harmony of improvisation… The narrative dictates what it wants to become rather than me mapping out every aspect of its development. “
What Welker wants above all for this show is that the public draws from its own subconscious to understand and take over ownership of his paintings: “The reason I chose to depict my subconscious with paint is because this form is a tangible reality others can interpret. It is a Rosetta stone for our minds. While there may seem to be a story or a narrative taking place in a piece, the audience is invited to make synaptic leaps in his or her own subconscious to interpret the story for his or herself.”
If what we have seen to date is anything to go by, Welker’s signature style and unique surrealistic imagery is well on its to way to making a memorable first impression on the gallery scene.