David Fredrik Moussallem (b. 1985, Lahti, Finland ) is a mixed media artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. He mostly uses found street collage and acrylics paint on large wood panels to create his abstract compositions summed up as “stories from the streets”. His works reflect the beautifully imperfect surroundings of urban city life with all its chaos and harmony. David’s work has been exhibited at various Canadian independent galleries and he has garnered a world-wide following of private collectors.
Hello David. Please tell us about your relationship with art:
My education is in Advertising & Graphic Design. I was a Designer for 10 years before painting full time. There are a lot of similarities between art and design. The approach is essentially the exact same, except with a different medium. I still use the same sense of colour, space, typography and balance as I did with my design projects.
I never wanted to become a painter and never believed I would be doing this. I fell into this path looking for a creative outlet. It did not take long to start selling and getting the proper publicity, so it really all happened at a very fast pace.
I paint what I experience going on around me. I tell stories about urban cultures.
What are your creative approaches and how much time does it take you to finish an artwork on average?
My painting sessions are very long, often around 8-10 hours at a time, sometimes more. I need music, coffee and a very good night’s sleep to properly get started.
It takes me approximately a week to finish a piece, however that is not true for all works. Some pieces take me a day, and others a few weeks to finish. I know they are complete when there is nothing left to be said. Getting to that point is difficult to measure.
I use different sized hardware-store brushes, palette knives of all kinds, and some power tools. I exclusively use acrylic paint, as it is much more utilitarian that oil. My collage elements are taken from the streets of Toronto. I tear down flyers and posters year-round, even in the unforgiving Toronto winters.
What are your views and opinions on contemporary art scene?
I think that the contemporary art scene is currently thriving. Art has never received more global exposure, mainly due to social media. When Basquiat’s show came to town this year, it was advertised like a rock concert. The turnout was incredible.
I rarely experience down time because people always have an interest in acquiring art. It has lasting value, and sometimes therapeutic value.
I painted a few pieces entirely with my left (non-dominant) hand. I experienced a serious arm injury last year and managed to tear my artery and tendons, so I could not use my right hand for months. I had to paint somehow. It was a very surreal experience when my left handed pieces sold.
Tell us about your achievements, awards, publications, etc.
I have been published in various design annuals. In 2014, I was named an ‘Artist to Invest In Now’ by Saatchi Art. I am currently represented in Paris, and am working on a very cool secret project with a company in Vienna.
I hope to keep painting as much as I can over the next few years. I would love to do a show of very, very large works. We’ll see what happens.
Please share your favorite stuff: artists, quotes, films, music etc.
Music – Gogol Bordello, HIM, Chris Isaak, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Diego Garcia, Jimmy Gnecco, Joseph Arthur, Lana Del Rey, Stephen Marley
Films – Buffalo 66, House of Sand & Fog, The Fountain, to name a few.
This is a very difficult career path. You have to be physically and mentally able to pick up a paint brush every day and thoroughly enjoy it. When your masterpieces are finally ready, be prepared to start over from scratch the next day. I’ve learned that it’s not about your last 10 paintings – it’s about your next 10. It’s also helpful to realize this is a lifestyle and not a job.