“Creation is not always about art. It’s about collaborating and making things happen!”- David McCauley
David wakes up in the morning to reggae music and the Florida sunshine. His mind is ready to get messy and his heart open to let things fall into place.
David didn’t always call himself an artist although during his travels to Australia, South Pacific region and Southeast Asia he played creatively photographing friends and capturing moments. It was a day in September 2008, David was living in Brooklyn and while at a party he dove into a pool breaking his neck, shattering his vertebrae and became paralyzed. Flash forward a few months – David was doing art therapy at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. He eventually participated in an art auction where his work was sold and he realized he could make a living through art.
David started Rise Up Gallery and partnered with hospitals and rehab centers in New York and New Jersey to bring art therapy workshops to patients. Eventually, they were hosting pop-up exhibitions of their work and awarding small quality of life grants. Some patients even contunied to pursue art.
“I see it happen all the time.” says David, “When leading an adaptive art workshop newly injured people ask themselves- How can I paint? And eventually they learn how to hold a brush…and sometimes it’s not even a brush that they are using to create. But, they figure out how to do it. I think it’s a metaphor for life after spinal cord injury. You have to learn to problem solve…and work with what you got!”
There are definitely frustrations when David isn’t always physically able to do what his mind envisions and he needs assistance from someone, or at times things get messy and mistakes are made, the work is “flawed”. To that David says, “It’s part of my process and makes the work unique. It makes it me. Sometimes I try really hard to make something perfect and clean but I have noticed often people respond more to the one’s where I’ve made mistakes.”
More about David:
What medium do you use? painting, sculpture, text, typography, skateboards, collage, mixed media
Do you have a mentor? Yes, I do. I also admire people like Chuck Close
What kind of music do you listen to? I like a lot of different things but every morning I listen to reggae and in the evening it’s Jazz
Do you have a favorite book? I like biographies and autobiographies
What did you study? My undergrad in Geography and Cultural Anthropology. Graduate program was Information and Communication Technology
What are you most proud of? The development and success of Rise Up. And now, the opening of Laundromat Art Space. It’s an actual working space for myself and other artists.
The Laundromat Art Space is an Artist Residency Program & Exhibition Space for mid-career Miami artists in the heart of downtown Little Haiti. Our 4500 sq ft space houses 9 artist studios and a gallery. We offer engaging community programming and contemporary art exhibitions. Resident artists have the unique opportunity to be part of an environment which fosters collaboration between multidisciplinary creatives and draw influence from the microcosm of Caribbean Culture which defines Little Haiti.
The Laundromat Art Space is presented by The Rise Up Gallery, a non profit organization based in Miami which provides pro bono art therapy workshops to the community. Rise Up is a 100% volunteer based organization and is funded entirely through grants, private donations, and the sale of artwork.