Meet Your Maker Monday: David Pilgrim

Meet Your Maker Monday visits David Pilgrim at his studio to get some insight into how he creates all manner of art. We first met David at a group art show at the Continental Club. At the time, he was selling stencil work inspired by pinups, befitting his nickname of Lowbrow Pilgrim. In the years since, David has pursued assemblage art at all sizes, from table top pieces to backlit six foot wide creations.

All photos by Alex Barber

All photos by Alex Barber

What is your name, company, URL, and social media links?

My name is David LOWBROW Pilgrim. My company is LOWROW PILGRIM STUDIO. I don't have a website at this time, but I have most of my work listed up on Facebook.

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What do you make?

Over the past two years I have focused mainly on found object assemblage pieces, but I create all manner of art, including, but not limited to, drawing, painting, pinstriping, tattoo, welding, and sculpting.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

Most days you will find me at my 9-5 job as manager of a pawnshop on Montrose. My mind however is always filled with ideas for new projects, taking most of my free moments to draw out those ideas, or start working on blueprints or what have you. When I'm not there, I am constantly stopping at garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, etc., looking for and collecting pieces that I think would be cool in an assemblage piece. I call them art supplies. When I am in my studio, it's all about production. It doesn't matter what I am working on, as long as it's something I can be proud to put my name on. Last week, I was making the arms move on an assemblage using electric motors. This week, I was sculpting anatomically correct vaginas for an erotic art show in town. You just never know what you will see when you walk through the door of my studio, affectionately named LOWBROWLAND!

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Why did you decide to start your own business and why Houston?

I have lived in Houston my entire life. I had been loosely entwined with the Houston art scene for many years doing just a couple of open call shows a year. Then my good friend Nick Gaitan asked me to come participate in an art show at the infamous Continental Club. I was skeptical that people would be interested in my style of art, but found that I was received with warm welcome, and my pieces started selling really well. A few months later I met Lizbeth Ortiz, the curator of the East End Studio Gallery, and she asked me to participate in a show at her gallery. It was a really exhilarating experience, and I felt I was becoming a part of something really important! From there on, I have done as many shows as possible and haven't looked back. The art scene in Houston is unlike any other – there is such an eclectic mix of artists and art lovers from all walks of life. Houston is a really big place, but the people in it make you feel so appreciated. I couldn't see myself happy doing my art or business anywhere else! I love my town!

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What are your inspirations and how do they guide your work?

It sounds funny or maybe a bit contrived, but I gather inspiration from my fellow artists, and also people that I encounter in my everyday life. I will see so many imaginative things in the world, and wish I had thought of those things myself, but I absolutely deplore copycats. I try to commit to memory and also evolve those ideas and incorporate pieces of them into my work, less like a direct inspiration, but more of a contributed idea to make the piece better as a whole! I do have artists I keep as an audience in my mind though, such as Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Von Dutch, Alexander Calder, Diego Rivera, Robert Williams and more recently Kris Kuksi. I always try to think that I must do work that these men would approve of.

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What's next for LOWBROW Pilgrim?

I will continue doing shows locally, and contribute all I can to helping the Houston area art scene grow and prosper. I am constantly learning new techniques, and I have my mind set on branching out into ceramic sculpture. I have taught many classes at the Houston Art Asylum in the past, and I am entertaining the idea of doing that again. My main goal for the not so distant future is a book of pictures and writings of my own that chronicle my experiences as a Houston based artist, and in turn, help to spread the word that if you are an up and coming artist, Houston is where you want to be!

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What do you want people to know about your work?

I want people mostly to understand that my work is done only because of my passion for it. I eat, sleep and breathe art. I have done so for as long as I can remember. If you are seeing my work, you are seeing a piece of me there. I don't make work that you would want to hang over your couch because it matches your drapes. I make work that will draw you in, and make you wonder about its meaning. if you can figure out what I was trying to convey, then I have failed as an artist. My joy in life is to create, and when I see people standing next to a piece of my work, trying to decipher its meaning with their fellow patrons, that is the greatest accolade I can receive as an artist.

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Copyright Houston Makerspace, LLC 2013.  Background images by Marisa Brodie and Alex Barber.