It was in 1974 at an art show in Petersburg when David Cochran knew he wanted to be an artist. “I ended up winning Best in Show, which was a big deal plus 900 dollars, which was enough to buy a functioning van.” After graduating from VCU in 1976, David hit the road with a van full of paintings and participated in art shows from New York to Florida, and never looked back. That determination took David from van life to the elite Torpedo Factory in Alexandria VA, where he maintained a studio for 33 years, selling his paintings directly to the public.
When David creates a painting, his inspiration has many sources. It was during his formative college years when he discovered artist René Magritte, who helped shape his artistic style. “His paintings were kind of absurdly mysterious, he had inexplicable images that would reoccur in his paintings.” David took this inspiration and turned his attention toward social interactions, which eventually led him to focus on the vivacious nightlife at jazz clubs. “I would just visually roam around in the interior of a jazz club, focusing on the interactions between patrons, musicians and bartenders.” However, like Magritte, David would add mysterious elements in the background of each painting causing the viewer to create a narrative justifying the unexplained combination of images.
It was around 20 years ago when David had an epiphany that led him to what became his true calling card. “I realized I needed to create paintings that appealed to people that had the financial ability to purchase them, as I had a wife and 3 sons to support. At one point a client who had commissioned a large painting, asked if I could depict him in the painting.” It was that moment which planted the seeds for much of David’s future artistic direction, as he realized many people no longer desired traditional portraits. “But they did relate to a more casual rendition of a family portrait. I have included up to 32 portraits in one painting, sometimes going back 4 or 5 generations"
For his next series, David is creating unique, inexplicable scenes of people interacting at cocktail parties, combining masks, microphones, fans and giraffes. "It’s fun to combine people in social situations hiding behind a mask – offering a persona that maybe doesn't align with their actual being.”
David Cochran moved back to his hometown of Richmond in 2018, after maintaining a studio at The Torpedo Factory for 33 years in Alexandria Va. He now resides in the Fan where he has a studio in his house on Arthur Ashe Blvd.
He is well known for his music related paintings where he visually meanders around the interiors of a jazz club and focuses on the musicians, dancers, patrons and bartenders in all manner of unexpected social interactions.
He applies acrylic paint in layers using unorthodox tools such as cauliflower, the wrong side of a brush, fingernails, used rags and discarded worn out brushes combined with occasional traditional applications. He won 1st Place in his first Juried All-Media Show at Crossroads Art Center (Jan 2019).
Dave is also a highly sought after portrait painter in a 20 year series called "A Different Kind of Family Portrait" where he has included up to 38 portraits in one painting. His patrons include Congressmen, Virginia's Governor, the Founder and CEO of Ritz Carlton and the owner of LA Dodgers. He is the featured artist in the 2019 November issue of Richmond HOME.
His paintings are in many collections including Philip Morris, Ethyl Corp, The Federal Reserve and Chrysler Museum. He graduated from VCU with a BFA in Painting and Printmaking in 1976 and received a 2 year grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to be Artist in Residence for York County Va in 1978-79.
201 S Arthur Ashe Blvd
Richmond VA 23220