david van alphen art and gallery – let’s chat!

posted by the scholar on February 29th, 2008
filed under: art, let's chat!, mixed media, paintings



you may remember the collages i posted about earlier in the month from local artist david van alphen, but maybe you didn’t know that he is the owner of the dva gallery here in chicago, and founder of the new and exciting slingshot! press, two very cool and affordable places to purchase original and limited edition artwork. for me, looking at david’s artwork is like taking a non-stop flight back to my childhood. i enjoy the dynamic action in the vignettes, i like his thoughtful color combinations and the retro imagery really unlocks some goofy and sentimental memories. also, finding artists who are gallery owners too is a rare and special thing, so let’s have a chat with david and find out more!



q: where do you live, and where is your studio?
a: i live in the western suburbs of chicago, and i turned my basement into my studio.

q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have been doodling and painting since grade school. in high school i would sell large paintings for $20, just to get some cash. i took a couple college art classes but dropped out of them both. i hated being told what and how to paint.


q: what is your inspiration, and do you have a message you want to relate through your collection? what are these pieces made of?
a: i love old 70’s ads and graphics. i’ve started creating under the name netherland just because it was such a different style and medium that people have not seen from me before. all the art is acrylic and collage on wood and i put a layer of resin on top to give it that old school worn look.

netherland_art_retro type


q: are there any advantages in being a gallery owner and an artist as well? are there any disadvantages?
a: there’s both. the good point is that you meet a lot of other great artists and gallery owners. you also always have a place to hang your own stuff (but i try not to). this last show was the first time in three years i’ve had a solo show for myself. any gallery owner can put his or her artwork in their own gallery but when another gallery asks you to show, it means a lot more. the bad part is that i feel like people are only complimenting my artwork BECAUSE they know i own an art gallery. that was also partially why i started creating work under the name netherland, so people would judge my art without influence on the fact that i have a gallery.


q: can you tell us a little about about slingshot! press?
a: i started slingshot! press mainly because i wanted to make art affordable for everyone. most print sites that do offer low priced prints are not signed and limited numbered editions. i think it means a lot more to have it signed by the artists. it costs me a bit more to send it to them and it takes longer but it’s worth it to the customer. also, i know a lot of talented artists that i wanted to help get their work out there.


(slingshot! print sampling: hamster wheel by paul chatem & archers by kelly vivanco)

q: do you have any advice for up and coming artists from the gallery owner’s perspective?
a: the best advice i can give is to be original. it’s great to be inspired by other artists but i like to look at stuff that is different and not a copy of someone else’s work. also when submitting to a gallery, take the time to take REALLY good photos of your work. the better the photos look, the better chance i’ll want to show them in my gallery.



you can see more of david’s work at his website here or on his flickr stream, and if you’re in chicago be sure to visit the dva gallery. purchase slingshot! press prints right here.

thank you david!

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4 Responses to “david van alphen art and gallery – let’s chat!”

  1. technabob Says:

    I’m pretty sure that I had that tape deck in my rumpus room back in the day.

  2. the scholar Says:

    rumpus room???

    glad this artwork conjures up the memories for you too!

    i hope he does something with platform shoes… thanks for the visit!

  3. sosser Says:

    wow! another great interview.
    his work,gallery and his prints project are all exciting! i was just reading about jen beckman in the ny times yesterday… artists with affordable art galleries, there must be something in the air. something really awesome!

  4. the scholar Says:

    hi sosser,

    yes! it is so exciting when we can find original art at reasonable prices. i want to promote it whenever possible and i’m so glad to have found david – and that you are enjoying it!

    thanks for popping in!

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