David Berkowitz is a renowned Chicago based painter. He was born on January 30, 1943, in Aurora. David finished elementary school in his native city, Aurora and after that moved to Chicago. There, Berkowitz Chicago enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago but never graduated.
He became aware of his talent for painting after suffering a serious spine injury, during a football match, when he was 26 years old. While lying in hospital, Berkowitz Chicago started painting portraits of patients.
It was about then when he realized that painting was his true passion, and decided to dedicate his life to painting.
A year later, David Berkowitz Chicago became a member of the Village art group. His peculiar style with characteristic elements immediately distinguished him from the other painters in the group.
These specific elements that we can see in the paintings of David Berkowitz Chicago are water, pumpkins, as a symbol of wealth (when the pumpkin is big and the corn is big), farm, granary, and bareback horses. The bareback horses are the element that gives unrestrained freedom to his paintings. Berkowitz draws inspiration from the landscapes of his childhood.
Painter David Berkowitz Chicago has showcased his paintings in over 300 exhibitions around the world.
How did you start painting? What inspired you to start in the first place?
Ever since I was a child, I had this great fascination for art, especially for painting. However, I never tried to paint, neither have I considered art to be my lifelong profession.
Due to my father’s insistence, I enrolled at the School of the Art Academy of Chicago and studied contemporary art. There, I started realizing the real beauty of the painting.
When I was 26 years old, I seriously injured my spine in a football match. I was tied to the bed for a month. While I was lying in bed, I was really bored and had nothing to do. It was then when I discovered my passion for painting. I started painting portraits of patients.
After that, I was inspired by the landscapes of my childhood and I wanted to eternalize them on the canvas.
How did you start earning money?
Money is not the driving force for creating art. I do it because I love it. But, in order to answer this question, I will share that once in 6 months I have an exhibition in some of the most famous art galleries in the world. There, the real art lovers come, see, and buy my paintings.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Actually, it took me a long time. As we all know, art is not as profitable as other professions. In the beginning, I was a broke painter with a big dream. My dream was to create the best possible paintings, which will be loved by almost everyone. I was young, and honestly being broke was not an obstacle for me to continue creating amazing paintings.
As you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted thing would work out? If so, how did you handle that?
I was a young and full of dreams, so I never had negative thoughts about what I was doing. I was driven by my huge passion for painting and I vividly pursued it. There were some moments when I thought that I need to do something else in order to earn some money and buy my painting equipment. But, that was all. My intuition told me that I will be successful.
How did you get your first buyer?
That is an interesting story. I was painting a landscape of the river in my native city Aurora. Suddenly, an old woman came and saw what I was doing. She was amazed by the beauty of my painting and told me that when I finished it, I should call her and she will buy it. And she did. Then I was only 27 years old. It was a huge success for me that someone was interested in my art.
What it is that makes you successful?
As I mentioned before, what makes me successful is the passion and the love for what am I doing. I think that if you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, you could be average, but never succeeded. The really successful persons are those who are passion driven.
What has been the most satisfying moment in your career?
My first exhibition in the National Gallery of Art was the happiest and satisfying moment in my career. Not everyone can exhibit in such a place. The exhibition was a total success and was visited by a lot of people, who also bought some of my paintings.
What does the future hold for your painting career? What are you most excited about?
I’m working on my new painting collection. It will be a collection of naïve art paintings, with specific elements which will remind the observer about his childhood. The paintings will be made to create positive emotions and to drive back the observer into the happiest moments of his existence on Earth, his childhood moments.
Which famous painters have inspired you?
When it comes to my art career, there have been two famous painters who encouraged and inspired me and whose art has lit a fire under me and spurned my desire to create. Those painters are Michelangelo and Norman Rockwell.
My first years at the SAIC academy introduced me to Michelangelo’s work. His powerful realism in both, painting and sculpture has an impact on my work. I was inspired to use realistic elements in my paintings.
When it comes to Rockwell, to me, he is an artistic genius. I admire his ability to tell a story through his work. I highly disagree with the people who have placed him in the non-artist category, because he used a projector to incorporate multiple photos into one stunning piece. I was inspired by him and incorporated the storytelling element into my paintings.