For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features pen and ink artist, David Schellenberg.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, he moved to Pointe Du Bois in 2012.
As a child, Schellenberg happily drew for hours, if someone handed him a crayon or pencil. When he was four years old, a college student, boarding with his family, asked him to draw a horse. Then she made a big fuss about the details and likeness of his depiction.
After that, he was hooked – not only on making art, but also on the resulting attention and emotion. This gratification motivated him; he wanted everything he did to be “creative.” Although he is mostly self-taught, in high school, he took photography and graphic arts, which led to a twenty-eight-year career in graphic design and marketing.
During road trips throughout Manitoba, he photographed abandoned homesteads, churches, grain elevators, or even a fence post, all for possible future drawings. He says, “This is when I felt most committed to my art.”
As he got older, Schellenberg found little time for pen and ink. Mortgages, children in hockey, and a career filled with annual reports, trade shows, and meetings all took priority. Despite such pressures, his creative impulse remained. For example, he started a drawing for his son’s first birthday, with illustrations from the daily news. To make it interesting, he added a woman, sitting in a full bathtub, wrapped in a towel, drinking coffee, and reading the newspaper spread on the floor. But he didn’t finish that drawing until seventeen years later, in Pointe Du Bois (see photo).
He has given his drawings and limited edition prints to celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth, Princes Edward, Andrew, and Charles, Princesses Diana and Ann, Paul McCartney, Alice Cooper, and many others. His favourite was The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. He says, “Someone pointed out that she received a better drawing than her in-laws.”
Schellenberg believes that artists are emotional creatures. He says, “I draw from my soul. I also see emotion in the art of others. Surround yourself with creative people. Then lay ink to paper or oil to canvas, or grab your camera. Then step back and say, there it is. Because it’s your turn, it’s in all of us.”