David Friedheim

David Friedheim

About The Artist

David Friedheim • Gwynn Oak, MD

My mother was a painter and my father was a classical musician. I received a BA from the SUNY Binghamton and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. I have built artwork on commission for private and public clients including such firms as Bill Graham Presents. In 1999 I was a founding member of the Crucible, a school devoted to linking the arts, industry, and community in Berkeley, CA. I also co-direct the collaborative art group Grendel's Mother with artist Trisha Kyner.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

When teaching I like to remind my students that drawing is not about producing an object. I tell them it is about a way of looking and thinking. The irony of this is that my own drawings are very much objects because I am using a metal rod for a line. I am drawing with steel, on the table or the floor, and welding this together. The basic building blocks of my work, it's sculptural grammar, are drawing and collage. I use a chain hoist and various other forms of support while building pieces in the round. Creatures, body parts, and patterns are often made individually and once accumulated then combined and arranged.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

I am a visual omnivore and purloin from the widest possible range of sources. Images that originate in Medieval illuminated manuscripts, wooden furniture, Italian majolica, Portuguese azulejos, Haida carvings, comic books and various forms of wall coverings fascinate me. Ours is a hybrid culture. I believe that creativity is often found in nooks and corners. When I go to a museum, a library or travel, I take a sketchbook with me. The images in my current work often come from these sketchbooks, some of which are thirty years old. In this way what I am doing now is both old and new. I circle back, returning to previous interests in a new manner.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

I am intrigued by the grotesque and its use in fine arts, decorative arts and popular culture. Sometimes it is hard to tell who the monster is. Sometimes the monster is more sympathetic than the hero or heroine. My work has often combined the monstrous with the playful.