David Boatwright – Charleston, SC


David Boatwright has studied architecture, painting and filmmaking at the graduate and post-graduate levels and currently lives in Charleston, working actively in all three disciplines.  In reflecting on his return to Charleston after time in Los Angeles in the mid 1980s he notes: I was moving to a relatively small city with not much support for the arts or individual artists. Luckily, Charleston was beginning to wake up from a long period of cultural isolation and in recent times has become a vibrant, cultural satellite able to attract a population with a greater interest in the arts. Though I felt well placed to take advantage of this rebirth, patronage remained limited, so supporting a family required some pretty fancy footwork.

The artist spent several years after his return running a small production company that produced documentaries and commercials. Boatwright later developed a business designing modernist houses, while continuing to paint. Designing restaurants spaces led to inside mural paintings and eventually Boatwright began producing outside signs and murals, developing this into a substantial business that allowed time and opportunity to practice his craft. Boatwright has stated: Over time, with the growing confidence of my clients, commercial constraints have given way to a freedom to infuse the sign/mural work with personal expression. At the same time, aspects of sign painting and murals, notably textual imagery, have cross-fertilized my paintings.

Print CONCEPT: I Ain’t Know

The idea for this print was initially inspired by those ads from the fifties that sold headache medicine, like Anacin.  The commercials usually showed a sledgehammer pounding something inside the brain while a baby was crying in the background as a voice-over intoned doom. Once I started sketching it began to change, as frequently happens. Failing to come up with a plan to show a lot of different ideas, I realized it was really a piece about what goes on inside my brain, which is filled with all sorts of base and mundane thoughts. Those things could be spelled out as text. It is sometimes said that the only really “charged” things in our culture, and the two things that drive conflict, commerce and mating, are sex and money. I decided to externalize those two symbols in the upper corners — Sex and Money, since those seem to be universal.

This makes it sound like it all evolved according to some logic, but really for me, it’s an intuitive thing and I only figured out where it came from in retrospect. 

I did the original with various sized Sharpies and the shape and composition were derived from vintage postage stamps seen online. The formal heroic faces and the engraved drawings with all the crosshatching were very appealing. In addition to gold and black ink, another color was custom-created from boiled down coffee sludge.



Each year we offer a new set of limited edition prints available exclusively to our members at the Postmodernist level and up. Artists who have been a part of the Halsey Institute’s programming have specially created these prints for us. Beginning at the POSTMODERNIST level ($350), you may choose from one of the prints we have available. Many of the prints are featured on the walls of our hall of Patron Prints located on the first floor of The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, just down the hall of the Halsey Institute.  Gradually, you can build your art collection while supporting adventurous contemporary art in Charleston! For more information, please contact Tatjana Beylotte at beylottetf@cofc.edu or 843-953-5652.


Community Partners 2017