Some of David McClyment’s work displayed at the David Kaye Gallery.

Artist makes old memories come to life

McClyment displays his memories of JFK assassination in his latest show

For over 35 years, David McClyment, instructor and co-ordinator of the Fine Arts Studio program at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre campus in East York, has been professionally showcasing his work in the GTA, throughout the province and internationally.

A talented artist, McClyment is well-known for injecting his personal life into his work, which is conspicuous in his most recent show, Gone (Again).

In one of his previous shows, Dreaming I was a Crow Dreaming which features a series of numerous crow drawings, McClyment used a mix of carbon and charcoal. In Gone (Again), he uses the same utensils along with spray paint to perfect his work. Why crows you may ask?

“Charcoal is black. Crows are black. A coincidence? I think not,” McClyment said. “They are fun to draw and allow the viewer to quickly get into the imagery. They (crows) become stand-ins for all kinds of human behaviour. And while I didn’t consider it at the beginning, crows are frequently the embodiment of the ‘trickster’ in many cultures.”

McClyment has lectured, run workshops and taught art-related courses for more than 20 years in nearly 10 different colleges and universities across Ontario. His main goals for his students are to be passionate about what they’re doing as artists. He hopes his students can feed off of his work, to be successful artists later in their career.

“I tend not to think of myself as a teacher, but more of a mentor. That is, an artist working with other artists. I have been on the planet a little longer, so I am happy to share what I have learned,” McClyment said.

When McClyment was just 10 years old, he recalls his Grade 3 teacher crying as she made the announcement to the class that U.S. president John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. This historical event is what inspired him to draw what was displayed at the David Kaye Gallery located in the heart of Toronto in January.

“The imagery in Gone (Again) steps back a little. Not people immediately in my life, but people the media is telling me are important. It looks at the sudden removal of celebrities from public life. People like John Kennedy, whose assassination introduced the world to the reality of modern public life,” McClyment said.

“Drawing it was an adventure; always entertaining. I never had a plan as to where I would end up. The result surprised me as much as I hope it surprises you.”