8 Questions with Dave Rosenthal

1. What situation or person motivated you to pursue art?
It was actually a “perfect storm”.  After 24 years as a Sr. Consulting Engineering Technologist in “Corporate America”, I felt a very strong pull for change. I had done everything that I believed I could to make the world a better place in that environment and yet still felt there was more to do in life. I had been writing and playing music and producing fine art photography almost my whole life but was led to believe it never could be a career (My own fault for listening to the Nay-Sayers!!).

Then one fateful evening at an ArtServe event, I was introduced to a gentleman by the name of Andrew Martineau. We got to talking about life, art, etc. and I mentioned the dream of mine to one day do fine art photography and music full time including combining them together into single, unified art pieces.  

Andrew then challenged me to submit my work for acceptance into a juried international Art show he curated and co-founded called Art Fort Lauderdale. To my surprise, I was selected and in January 2020, for 4 days I had the opportunity to finally realize the dream of performing live my original music and fine art photography together to nearly 1000 show attendees. This provided a sense of community that I could draw on; and as they say…the rest is history. I have been a full time Artist ever since. 

2. What four recommendations would you give to aspiring artists beginning their career?
Be authentic…Believe in yourself…Be open to change and exploration…and include in your plans a way to financially support yourself as you grow, so you can continue on the path. The world needs artists.

3. What emotion are you trying to create for your audience through your art?
Generally it is a sense of peace, connection with our surroundings, awe, wonder and a yearning for adventure, like when we were kids. I think today we have access to an abundance of instant information. It is an incredible wealth of knowledge, but can also be a sensory overload and a distraction from actually participating in life.  

With that in mind, one of the goals of my art is to inspire others to feel centered by rekindling our innate bond with nature and its flow. By doing so, I believe we become more compassionate with each other, more alive – in the moment, more appreciative and hopefully more protective of our planet earth. 

4. Does an artist have an obligation to make a statement with their art?
A statement no…but an impact yes.

I believe true authentic art creation is a gift that should be shared with the world. All of us have some sort of a creative side, but not everyone is an artist. And when art is pure, its impact is undeniable. 

Art is created for many reasons; sometimes conceived to make a statement. But other times it is just a deep personal endeavor, in that moment with no thought about sharing. Perhaps only for the artist to make sense of something, to heal, or just to be happy lost in the artistic, meditative process. 

But I do believe once an artist decides to share that art with the world it opens dialogues that cannot help but have an impact, and perhaps, get a better understanding of themselves as they discuss what the art means with others. From those conversation, sometimes statements can be born. 

5. Was there ever a time when giving up was the right thing to do?
I guess it depends on what your definition of giving up is. I was taught from a young age it was admirable to persevere and push on when the going got tough. This has served me well towards meaningful aspirations, but I also learned how to step back and reassess situations as they unfolded. To reevaluate my core reasons, motivations and expected results when pursuing something. Some may call this “wisdom”. 

Leaving my corporate job was a perfect example. The money was good, it was steady, challenging and I had a good reputation in the industry. But over time, it became a caustic work environment affecting my health, and my values no longer aligned with the company’s direction. So I pursued (and was granted) a voluntary separation package…and with that “gave up” on that journey, and I am much better off for it even without the financial security.

6. Is there something in your past career that would surprise people?
I have changed professions several times…from construction worker, to journeyman electronics technician in the pro audio/video world, to being in optical/video performance, but what might surprise some is that I never went to college – I chose to be self taught. That does not mean I did not learn from others; just not in a classroom setting. 

7. What do you see as the most important attributes of a successful artist?
First is self belief. Next is gratitude, humility, exploration, connection with the human spirit, and a willingness to learn how to market and support ourselves business wise. The world needs artists…and a “starving artist” status cannot be maintained for very long. 

8. What is the most valuable life lesson you learned from creating art?
Everyone truly has their own unique voice and story. For me personally, it continues to be recognizing my voice, owning it, appreciating it…with all its beauty and flaws…and allowing that voice the freedom to grow without judgment and fear getting in the way. 

And with others…take the time to really explore their voice. In the end, I find we are not so different from each other; even when our views on particular topics are opposed.  

Dave Rosenthal