Here is a profile of artist David Sponseller, Cornerstone’s artist of the month for December 2018.
Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
Towards the end of my ninth grade year in high school, I and my classmates were sitting in our social studies class and the teacher did not show up. We were getting pretty loud and out of hand. The art teacher from the next classroom, Ron Linder, heard us and came in the room and took us all into his class. He set us down with art supplies. I was given watercolors and markers. At the end of the class period, Mr. Linder asked me if I could come back during study hall and finish the drawing I had started. I did, and after that he asked me to take art classes. I was exposed to a multitude of mediums in Mr. Linder’s class throughout the rest of high school. What really stuck with me was the mixed media collage process he taught me and drawing with graphite.
After high school I attended art classes at the Harrisburg Area Community College and graduated with a degree in commercial art. I found out quickly that commercial art was not for me but I did have a passion for creating. My further plans for art education were cut short by unforeseen events but I have continued to create and develop my sense of style. I find the process of creation not only meditative and enlightening, but it allows me the opportunity and freedom to express myself without boundaries. I also love photography and my art pieces are often based on the photographs I take.
How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
What I like most is the variety of materials I use. It allows me to express myself at that moment when I’m inspired.
Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
My high school art teacher, Mr. Linder had an important and lasting impact on my development as an artist. And because of his influence and support of me as an artist throughout high school and even after, he also impacted the direction of my life. The inspiration for the specific pieces I create is the idea of how I can capture a moment; the way I see something of beauty or that touches me in that moment inspires me to recreate that feeling.
Do you have a favorite piece in your portfolio?
Its hard to say but I just completed the graphite drawing “Chain” and it may be my favorite. The inspiration for it is an old photograph I took sometime in 1982. It was part of a hoist for a small sailboat I was given as a gift. I worked on it for 26 years; working and setting it aside and working and setting it aside. In the last year, I was inspired to finish it and I can see my growth as an artist in it.
What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?
If an artist is starting out in graphite, I advise that she or he get a damn good pencil and an even better pencil sharpener. A perfectly sharp point on your pencil allows you to create both precise and soft effects. Drawing with a sharp pencil is a heady pleasure.