Innovation has been one of the hallmarks of the changes brought about by British artists and designers since the 1960s and David’s career has reflected this. His childhood was dominated by a passion for painting. Circumstances led him to pursue a career in the allied field of product design. David’s desire was to improve all aspects of design and apply them in a much broader field – as both artist and designer he was keen to develop products which were not only supremely fit for purpose but also a joy to behold.
In the early 1960s he left England to work in Sweden and Denmark because he wanted to experience the cutting edge of modern art and design. After three years, during which he met his future wife, he returned to work with an architect’s firm in London and his career expanded into the design of interiors. His experience of Scandinavian design was a timely intervention and he quickly realised that to achieve a hallmark of excellence, interior design must be equally supported by the design of quality products. He acted as adviser on industrial design for the Design Council, travelling nationwide developing his consultancy skills.
The move to the North of England also marked the development of David’s parallel career as a painter. When he met Hannah Smeds, an artist and designer of textiles, theirs was an instant and mutual shared artistic philosophy, and the recognition that they could be each others mentor. Their meeting was the start of a lifelong journey together, a partnership in which both David and Hannah find it difficult to assess the artistic impact of their relationship on each other’s work.
David has pioneered new techniques in the use of pastels on thick, textured watercolour paper to produce large scale colourful images. Having worked with architects and designers to create art for domestic and public spaces, David’s images can be readily integrated into specially commissioned work for interiors. His pictures contain both figurative and abstract images reflecting the patterns of the surrounding landscape. The combination of form and colour is central to David’s belief about the constructive process of painting and its relationship to design.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the art and design at Maiden Bridge has evolved in mirror image to each stage of David’s career. It is the apotheosis of David’s desire “to be able to control his own environment”, and a fulfilment of his total preoccupation with all things visual in the arena of fine and industrial arts.