Local Artist Gets Big Break

The Charger Bulletin

WALLINGFORD, Conn.–When 21-year-old Dave Estes, from Wallingford, Conn., received the news that he had been chosen to display his artwork at Artspace’s annual citywide open studio, he was ecstatic. Never displaying his artwork for the public, this will be a new experience for Estes, who seeks to one day make a living from his paintings.

Estes started drawing in middle school, realizing his talent somewhere between seventh and eighth grade, as his abilities far surpassed his peers. Once he reached high school, he decided he wanted to pursue the difficult life of an artist. He taught himself how to paint, knowing this was the only way he could truly make a living as an artist.

Estes’s current work is influenced by two distinct types of painting: Polish Surrealism, which is a usually darker type of expression, and California Low Brow Art, which is “non-serious and cartoony” art. His work usually starts with an idea, many times political, but at the time of completion the art has taken a life of its own, straying from the original idea of the painting.
He uses art as a therapeutic outlet, painting to express the stressful life that he lives. Estes says, “Whenever I’m in a good mood, I don’t want to paint. When I’m in a bad mood, painting helps change and express it.” He later added, “happy people make [terrible] art.”

Estes works at Thermo Spas, the typical nine-to-five job in the corporate world that he never wanted to live. However, when trying to pay the bills and support his newly born son, Connor, the life of a starving artist alone cannot take precedence. This does not mean that he is ungrateful for the way he lives his life today. “I was on my break from work, driving to get some lunch and thinking about how much I hated my job and not wanting to go back to finish the day. Then I saw a man in a parking lot picking up cans. This suddenly was the most humbling thing to me, and I realized that others have it much worse than I do,” Estes said with emotion. These emotions can be seen poured into his work.

Unfortunately today, Estes does not have the comfort of purely being an artist. He is optimistic that his first art show with Artspace, he will get his name known, and maybe even sell a few paintings. A few months back, he made his first sale off of his MySpace page, shining a light of possibility that one day he may be able to quit his job and only paint for a living.

Estes will display his work this weekend at the Fairhaven site of Artspace’s Open Studios. Visit www.cwos.org for information on the event. To view more of the art of Dave Estes, visit www.Dave-Estes.com.