The exceptional talent of David Bolt can be seen not only in magazines, at shows and on the Internet, but on human bodies as well as in the words he uses to describe his work and his experiences. The airbrush, while not his standard media these days, is one of his favorites. Although most of his current work is now done digitally or via tattoos, David expresses a strong impulse to return his attention to natural medium and get his hands dirty again. Airbrush Technique Magazine asked for an interview from this extraordinary artist and was graciously granted one.

David’s unique style is apparent regardless of his means of application and the airbrush is a tried and true method which has been a large part in the evolution of his accomplishments. When asked to elaborate David said, “These days I’m doing a lot of digital work but it’s only because I have been moving and don’t have a suitable studio space for airbrush. For many years the airbrush was my tool of choice. It’s so fluid and natural. I feel like the color is being directed straight from my finger to the canvas. It’s like my mind has a direct link to the tool. Just like you don’t have to think about riding a bike, I don’t have to think about having an airbrush in my hand. It’s a direct extension of my body.”

Born in New York in 1971, David’s father lent his creative nature to his young son. “There are no other artists in my family, but my father is very creative. Growing up I was exposed to his active imagination and sparkling sense of humor. I remember him sitting with my brother and me to tell us amazing stories. I realized later he was just making them up as he went along. My family always encouraged me and had faith in what I chose to do. I remember people outside of the family (teachers or friends of the family) would sometimes discourage art as not being a practical life choice. I felt a determination early on to prove these people wrong and justify my family’s faith in my choices.”

While David does have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, he first discovered his ability to capture his imagination as a young boy. He recalls, “I had always been tortured by my own over active imagination when I was a child, seeing things in the dark and feeling the presence of all kinds of spirits and creatures all around me. There was also another kid in the neighborhood who was very different then the others. He would talk to people who were not there, and seemed to live in a world that was more fantasy than reality. It was almost like he lived in a state of waking REM sleep. One day we were playing and he wanted to draw. Although this was something he seemed to do often, I had never done it before. He exploded into his drawing and it was not so much a picture but an event, an adventure. While he drew a story unfolded. Wars were waged, lives were lost and heroes emerged. For me, that day, a whole new world opened up. I found a channel for my imagination. I found the paper to be a place to safely manifest all the spirits and creatures that lived in my heart. I was able to explore my darkness and my fears. I learned to relate to them in a way I could manage. Giving monsters and spirits form on paper had them occur to me as something I could live with. I remember that first drawing as an important turning point in my life. I felt empowered and I loved the process of creating something. I knew from that first time I touched pencil to paper that I would spend the rest of my life making art.”

The airbrush was introduced to David in his teen age years. “When I first bought an airbrush I was still in high school and it was terrible. I had no idea what I was doing. Then in art-school a couple of years later, I watched a friend paint who was a mad genius. This was the first time I saw what the airbrush was for. This was the first time I saw it’s potential as an expressive tool. He was aggressive, loose and natural in his use of it. I went back to my dorm room that night and fired up my airbrush for hours… from that time on it all made sense. It took a while to build up the finesse and dexterity to really get it sync with it, but from that time on I loved it and it served me well.”

When asked about outside influences regarding the use of the airbrush and development of his style, David’s thoughts turn to H R Giger. “Aside from his mind bending and incredibly powerful images, I was inspired by HR Giger’s ability to harness the power of the airbrush as a serious fine art media. There seems to be a bias against airbrush as a tool for fine art.” David dismisses these biases, “I take every image and every individual expression on its own merits. I applaud ground breaking artists and people in general who pop others out of their stereotypes and make them take a second look at the world.”

We asked David to compare the use of the airbrush to some of the other media he uses. “I prefer to do black and gray tattoo work as opposed to color. I have adopted a tattoo technique that is very much like the way I approach an airbrush piece. I like to build the pigment slowly and let organic patterns emerge from the image and surprise me. I think my tattoo work has found it’s own unique identity as a direct result of my experience with the airbrush.

“I love the immediacy of the airbrush. I love the fluid nature of it. To me, my airbrush work is reminiscent of liquids and gas. The creatures I create with the airbrush seem to me like they are held together by spirit rather then bound by matter. There is a sense that the paintings are moving through time and leaving vapor trials as they go. There is a softness and smokiness in my airbrush work that is not present in any of my other artistic efforts. I feel like the airbrush was the tool that really taught me to fully express myself as an artist. My accomplishments in other media are built on the things I learned about myself with an airbrush in my hand. Although airbrush is my favorite I really enjoy just about any vehicle for artistic expression and I have a deep love for painting with a brush. My favorite thing about brush painting is the way brush strokes can almost fool the mind. They can be wildly gestured and yet at a glance they appear almost photographic. The way that a bold smear of color from the tip of a brush can appear as highlight on someone’s hair, the texture of satin fabric, or the reflection of sunlight on the water will always seem like magic to me.

David had the following advice for those trying to break into the professional side of the artist world, “Do your best with each and every project. No matter what you are being paid (or even if you are not being paid) do your very best work and treat every opportunity like it’s going to be seen by the whole world. You never know who will see the fruits of your efforts. Also these things build a momentum over time that can reward you in ways you might never expect. To this day I still sell prints of paintings that I did back in art school (many of which I got bad grade on).

“Also I have to say that you must believe in yourself and be self validated. The world will tell you that you suck and that you can’t do it. Don’t think of it as the truth, think of it as a test. The world will never make things easy for you, but if you believe in yourself and your own value it won’t matter what the world has to say about it. Your rewards and your treasures are in your hands, your eyes and your spirit. If you can become the artist on the inside that you want to be, there are no rewards that the world can give you that will match that lifetime of gold. It’s a gift to you and the world every time you imagine something new and bring a new image out from your imagination and into the light for all to see.”

We thank David for his insight, his time and sharing a glimpse of his wonderfully imaginative and original art. For more incredible work from David Bolt, be sure to visit his web site at