David Onri Anderson is a prolific Nashville artist known around the South for his very sweet and sincere small-scale paintings. As a co-director of Mild Climate and Bijan Ferdowsi galleries, he also has been an innovative influence on the Southern art scene. Anderson recently had a show alongside his brother Benji Anderson at Good Enough Gallery in Atlanta, another artist-run space, as well as an installation in the Sliver Space at Atlanta Contemporary. Often using found materials as a painting surface, David’s playful paintings use elements of hard-edge abstraction to depict familiar objects in almost unrecognizable ways.
Growing up, Anderson was constantly drawing. He says it’s always been a part of who he is. There were periods in his life where he felt the need to have a sketchbook on him at all times. In school, he often got in trouble for drawing instead of listening, but in reality he needed to draw in order to pay attention. Drawing is simply in his nature; it’s how his mind functions.
Anderson’s sketchbook is a major component of his art practice and always functions as a first step towards his finished paintings. He finds that if he gets out of the habit of sketching, it feels like he is working from ground zero when he begins a painting. By sketching every day, he is able to sustain a natural flow of production, maintaining a playful practice without feeling restricted or struggling with limitations.
Having recently developed an aversion to buying sketchbooks, Anderson has been drawing all over receipts, wrappers, plastic bags, or whatever is at hand. He sees the drawings he makes on available scraps around him as unique reminders of a certain time and place. Right now, his “sketchbook” consists of piles of drawings on, “really, any flat surface” he has in his bedroom. He recently showed painted versions of these impromptu drawings at Good Enough in October 2017.
Anderson’s work will be on view along with that of Amy Pleasant and Elenor Aldrich at Apothecary Gallery in Chattanooga (March 22-25) and at the Leu Gallery at Belmont University in Nashville (March 12- May 4).
CC Calloway received her BFA from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in May 2017. She is a 2017-18 WonderRoot Walthall Fellow.