The artists: David Arnold |

The artists: David Arnold

The Union StaffArnold
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

What is your career and your current job title? I currently teach photography at Nevada Union High School, and digital imaging at Sierra College.

Describe in a sentence or two your art. I am a photographer and I create photographic art. I have endeavored, especially this last summer, to complete several bodies of work that overlay and overlap layers of color and light. The assembling of my exhibition, “Recent Work,” has been an opportunity to refocus my creative efforts, to see the connections within several bodies of work carried forth in one well-lighted room.

How long have you been working in this discipline? I took my first serious photograph in 1975, a fallen oak tree. From a particular point of view, the fallen tree looked like a skull lying on the ground. I remember the light being bad, the photograph was taken at noon on a clear summer day, but the composition was engaging and strong.

Why do you do it? Photography means “light writing” and I take those words to heart. I create art because of how it connects me to the world.

What do you hope to accomplish? “Accomplish” is not a word I think about when I am creating my artwork. A better word would be “inspiration.” What inspires me would be a better question. I am “inspired” by a place, and the light in that place at a particular moment in time. In my evaluations of my art work, I ask myself if I have “recreated” the moment I remember experiencing, that light, that place. Does my work reflect what I saw, what I experienced when I took the photograph?

Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message? For me, “messages” are for advertisements, not for art work.

Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part-time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen? I have several projects underway, books and exhibitions that I hope to bring to completion. After a long period of focusing on supporting the exhibition of my student’s art work, I am beginning again to focus on the exhibition my own work.

What kind of special training did you take? If not, how did you learn the art techniques or processes? I have taken many classes and workshops in photography and digital imaging over the years, but oddly for an art teacher, with photography, I like to consider myself largely self-taught. And now that I think about it, I believe all artists are self taught…

What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? Each part of the process continually surprises me. In its own way, I find all of it difficult, all of it challenging and for the challenge, all of it is enjoyable.

How many hours a day or, if more appropriate, a week do you spend on your work? So long as I have the capacity to think and to feel, I am working on my art work…

Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? Making art, any art, is difficult, requiring great sacrifices for little tangible reward. (I would recommend Ted Orland’s fine book, “Art and Fear,” to anyone interested in these issues.) Many artists struggle long hours to create work that few people will see or appreciate. I am no different.

“Recent Work” by David Arnold is now on display at Sierra College’s Ridley Gallery in Rocklin through Oct. 10. The exhibit features a slide show and installation pieces based on trees and columns from photographs taken on a recent trip to Spain and Portugal.

Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays. The Ridley Gallery is at 5000 Rocklin Road. Call (916) 789-2873 for more information.

“The Artists” appears each Friday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.

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