Portrait, landscape artist schedules his gallery’s grand opening
David Schock, a Wakefield resident who has been illustrating his thoughts on paper since he had a comic book (“The Destroyers”) published as a 16-year-old in the late 1970s, is enamored with the beauty of Jamestown. In 2009, Schock left the island after two years as director of the now-defunct Randall Art Gallery, which was located on Narragansett Avenue.
Now, determined to get back into the business of showcasing his work, Schock last month opened his own personal gallery – and he could think of no better location than Jamestown.
“The natural thing for me to do was return to Jamestown,” said Schock, who was born in Boston and lived in Massachusetts up until six years ago, when he moved to Rhode Island. “The island is perfect. I enjoy painting Jamestown. It’s the combination of the farmland and the ocean, and the people there keep the land beautiful.”
Schock will have the grand opening of his one-man show on Saturday, Aug. 13, at his gallery located at 47 Conanicus Ave. There he will display his stunning works of art, which is largely based on the inspirations he gets from the surrounding landscape and seascape, from a mother wrapping her child in a towel on the beach, to a lighthouse, sailboat or farm pasture.
“I’m really inspired by the positive relationship between people and the environment,” Schock said. “I also love beautiful architecture. A lot of it is about how people react with the land around them.”
Shock began studying art at the University of Massachusetts, where he graduated with a degree in fine arts. From there he attended the Exeter College of Art in England and the Art Students League in New York. Among his instructors was American artist Aaron Shikler, who is best known for his White House portraits of John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Nancy Reagan.
Schock began his professional art career by taking commissions as a portrait painter. He then became interested in landscape painting while studying in England. His first show was at a London art gallery in 1989 named Cadogan Contemporary, and he said that unusual circumstances led to his discovery.
“I was just walking by,” said Schock, “and the next thing I know, I have a show.”
Since then, Schock’s career has blossomed. More than 20,000 of his landscape and figurative work are in collections worldwide. His pieces have also appeared in House Beautiful magazine, as set pieces in films and television, and as book covers. He is an award winner in painting at the Copley Society in Boston and was also honored as the featured artist for the Boston Pops fundraising concert in Cape Cod.
More locally, Schock won Rhode Island Monthly’s “2009 Best of Rhode Island” award in the familyportrait category.
Although Schock has many ties with Jamestown artists, he is singularly focused on his personal work. While running the Randall Art Gallery, he worked with Kate Petrie, now co-founder and president of the Jamestown Arts Center.
“They were a great group, but I wanted to spend more time on painting than administration,” Schock said.
Schock’s statement as an artist, he says, “Is about seeing the world in different ways. Perception is a choice about what we desire to see, an out picturing of our thoughts, and the artist freezes a particular perception to draw attention to it, to express its validity in his or her vision of the world.”
Schock was a regular on a PBS auction shows for years. He was an auctioneer, and donated paintings to the organization as well. He will also be the honorary chairman for the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace & Museum fundraiser titled “Moonlight Magic” on Friday, Aug. 12.
For his commissioned portraits, Schock said that the summer is the perfect time to get the work done. “If anyone wants a portrait done, now is a really good time,” he said. “I like to do them outside, so even if someone wants to get something done for the holiday, now is the time to do it.”
Currently, Schock lives in Wakefi eld with his wife, Shirley, and 16-year-old son, William. William attends South Kingstown High School and will be a sophomore this fall.
“There is a vision of life that is based purely on the reality of love, love as the one cause, that alone which can give and maintain life,” Schock writes on his website, davidschock.com. “When this is revealed and experienced and is the ground of inspiration, I believe the greatest art is created, and the greatest truth seen.
To find the truth of life, based on the illuminating perception of love, is my deepest aspiration as an artist.”