About David Lord by Randy Leffingwell
Inspiration for David Lord to draw and paint came from hours spent as a child at a drawing board set next to his talented grandmother’s easel.
“She painted flowers and landscapes . . . I drew cars, boats, airplanes and army tanks.”
In addition, a beloved, dedicated, high school teacher, who “instilled the love of art history, taught me art skills and techniques, and the ability to ‘know what to keep . . . and what to leave out’ of my art.”
A New Englander by birth, David attended high school in Connecticut. Art was his favorite class and he kept his eighth grade dream of going to art school alive with hundreds of hours spent drawing cars and planes.
After high school, he began two years of art studies at the University of Hartford in Connecticut and then began training at Art center College of Design in Los Angeles, California. After two semesters there, general Motors granted him a full scholarship. He graduated in 1965 as a Bachelor of professional Arts in Industrial Design.
Upon graduation, Lord was hired by UniRoyal in South bend, Indiana, to design consumer products and eventually products for military application in Vietnam. “I also had the honor and privilege of working with Gordon Buehrig on the preliminary design, drawings, and clay for the 8/10 scale Cord, built of vacuum-formable, color impregnated plastic.
After three years with a South Bend industrial design firm, Lord started his own company. During this period he spent many late evenings at the easel in his own studio, painting and drawing automobiles. The direction of his artwork, philosophy and goals began to form.
“I decided to focus my love of all things automotive with my talent for painting and drawing. I had been to many events over the years; councours, car and air shows, had an extensive automotive reference collection and four major influences and mentors. These were men whose talent I was in awe over the years; Peter Helck, Walter Gotschke, Ken Dallison, and John Burgess, among others. The decision was easy. I wanted to use my talent to create automotive and aviation art.”
When invited to an exhibition of automotive art at the Meadow Brook Hall Concours d’ Elegance, near Detroit, David quickly discovered there were others with the same dream. Meeting other automotive artists led to becoming a founding member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society. In 1991 and m1993 he won the prestigious AFAS Athena award for his paintings. In addition to many private and corporate collections, his paintings are also in two respected international automotive museums: the Behring Museum in California and the Rosso-Bianco museum in Frankfort, Germany.
His home/studio in the shadow of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, adorned with the works of his artist friends Larry Braun,, John Burgess, Ken Dallison, Peter Helck, Dennis Hoyt, Walter Gotschke and others.
AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE described David Lord as “one of America’s best painters of motor racing scenes.” The ARTIST’S MAGAZINE observed that his canvas seems to resonate with the clamor or roaring engines, the rush of precision vehicles and the illusion of steel slicing the air at 200 miles an hour. Lord’s scenes combine his love for the speed and beauty of automobiles.”
Interestingly, Lord has a very large collection of Pinewood Derby cars. “Talk about inspiration; every one of these cars is an individual design statement . . . a solution created by an unfettered mind. The design possibilities are endless of course and each is a work of art. I have everything from a block of wood with radiused corners hand painted with red, white, and blue stripes to one that might make you believe that dad worked on the Lotus for Colin Chapman,” he laughed.
On the wall near his tall upright easel are photos and sketches, preliminary studies for works in progress and those upcoming. One photo, however, is there for motivation. It shows a twin-engine military aircraft, a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon patrol bomber. Lord belongs to a group of aviation enthusiasts who formed the Military Heritage Foundation in 1990. This group flies seventeen air shows a season and reaches the men who actually flew this type of plane during World War II.
Many oral histories have been obtained from those who flew these airplanes. Their remembrances of those who live on them and the heroes who died in them can be overwhelming. “Their words go right to the heart of my love of telling a story with my art.” Lord said.
“I choose to call my work “interpretive realism,” a constant attempt to combine reality with the freshness and freedom of the brush stroke. By capturing an image in time, I feel my art brings to the viewer the same feelings and reactions I have creating it.
In the end it is all about being connected . . . “This is my goal for my art; to make it strong . . . to make ripples in the worlds of others, to bring back memories and add to their lives in unique ways.”