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Renowned artist has first ever exhibition at DCMA

September 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

 

David Arrigo, who, with his wife of seven years, Anne- Marie, currently calls Hockey Valley his home, is perhaps one of Canada’s most renowned artists.

David first developed an interest in art when he was a child and that interest grew into one of the most fascinating careers in the art world.

With absolutely no formal training, David has seen his work span the globe and, in the process, adorn the faces of some of the most famous goalies in the NHL.

David’s first big break, came in 1998, when he was painting for the Molson Brewing Company and was attending a Molson Indy party at Wayne Gretsky’s restaurant.

He won a ride, in the Pace Car, with Canadian driver Paul Tracy.

The night before the ride, he did a painting of Tracy and his then girlfriend, Lisa, and presented it to PT at the track.

This led, exactly one year later, to a commission to paint for the Kool Green racing team and the start of David’s motorsports affiliations.

Shortly thereafter, in 1999, while painting the murals at the same restaurant, he was approached by the Hockey Hall of Fame to do a painting for Gretzky’s induction ceremonies.

He was given three days to complete the work and doors have been opening ever since!

It was at the NHL All-Star game in Dallas, where David was doing live paintings, that goalie Mike Smith’s dad approached him about painting a mask.

David had little to no interest at the time, but later, when Smith’s dad approached him again, he agreed.

The result was a Grinch mask for the Christmas season and he has been painting goalie masks ever since.

This year, Smith, who will be playing for the Calgary Flames, will again be wearing one of David’s creations.

Perhaps one of David’s most memorable, experiences was his trip to Afghanistan, with the Stanley Cup, to visit with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and other Canadian and NATO troops on the front lines!

The opportunity came at the invitation of then Maple Leafs CEO Tom Anselmi who was organizing the junket.

Amongst those participating were Lanny MacDonald, Tiger Williams, Arlene Dickinson, Chris Nyland and Daren Millard.

Since David had always had a deep respect for our military personnel, he jumped at the chance.

In all, the trip lasted nine days and started with a combat zone rapid landing at Kandahar Air Base, in the dead of night, and a subsequent stay at Canada’s secret air base in Dubai, before returning to Toronto.

David vividly remembers the camaraderie on the base and the vengeful scream of fighter jets taking off, day and night, from the air base.

For the future, David will be staying on peaceful ground, but with a very busy schedule ahead.

He will be painting at the Invictus Games, Prince Harry’s notable charity, and he has a number of goalie masks to complete, of course.

He is working with Baycrest Hospital on a project involving Wayne Gretzky again, and whatever else my come along.

One of David’s loves, is wildlife painting and examples of this were prominent in the DCMA show.

Living in Hockey, David says he is surrounded, by an abundance of subjects and paints them at every opportunity.

David’s approach has always been to try to accomplish whatever type of commission or challenge presents itself and that has certainly led him to stretch himself, both as a multi –talented artist and as a human being.

David’s Dufferin County Museum and Archives exhibition, which was admirably curated by Museum Curator Sarah Robinson, is not only a first for the County, but is the first ever exhibition of David’s work, a fact that he is very proud to proclaim.

The show runs until October 14th of this year and is more than well worth the drive to the DCMA to enjoy!

         

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