I Am What I Am, I Do What I Do
By Marla Santos
Identical twin brothers, David and Duane Scherer, are two American Artists, whose unique clocks and art pieces are sold all over the U.S., Europe and the world, even in mainstream big box retailers such as Walmart and Sears. Their art has become collector’s items in numerous private and corporate collections. If you have a passion for modern art, you will find their work both unique and extraordinary.
David works in a variety of mediums, bringing an intriguing, distinctive style and vibrancy to all of his pieces. He’s well known for his 3D works of art. Reverse paintings on acrylic panels are attached to a canvas, giving them a multi-layered contemporary feel. David’s art is diverse, consisting of black and white drawings and paintings filled with beautiful, dense colors. The titles are as diverse as the creations, such as: “I’ve Run Off and Joined the Circus” and “Birth of an Arabian Ghost over the Sea of Spikes”. He has also created quite a collection of musical pieces, as he is also a musician, which is how we first met David and his identical twin, Duane.
“Art has always been there in my life. I started making things when I was a very young kid, probably eleven or twelve. I loved making things and putting things together. I started playing hockey when I was thirteen. When it came time to find a mask, there wasn’t anything that would really fit. There was just a plastic thing that you’d see at different sporting goods stores. I had a conversation with one of my teachers in my shop class telling him about my dilemma and he told me they had the technique to make a fiberglass mask that would be custom fit to my face. So, we made one. It was really exciting making the mold and forming it. So I had this little fiberglass mask playing in the hockey league, and there really wasn’t anything like it. All the other kids had those plastic ones. The next year I had grown and was playing with older kids. I made a full-scale head protection and a company named Goldie Mask painted it for me. That is what really got me hooked on the idea of making something really cool and then selling it. When I would make something in art class, it was always: ‘Can I sell this?’ I wondered: ‘What is it in me that I can create and sell, that would pay for other things that I was interested in?’ I loved dirt bike riding, playing hockey, skiing and traveling. I worked from that position rather than being an inspired artist.”
“My reading about science and physics and astrophysics inspired me. I remember my science teacher saying: “Out beyond our planet there is a void. There’s nothing out there.” I didn’t understand that because, if there’s nothing out there, what about temperature, or light rays? There’s gotta be stuff out there. As years went by and the different discoveries came out that space is just one huge, multidimensional fabric, the idea that there is something everywhere appealed to me. There were a lot of extra realist (using detail textures for extra realism close-up) and abstract images in paintings that were an inspirational launching pad for me. When I was in my early twenties, I came up with this idea that I called: “Visions of Energy and Color.” Some of the sculptures that I do now, all these years later, are in a way, an offshoot of those earlier Visions of Energy and Color. It’s got a feeling of the multiverse that we live in. “
“I had started doing paintings on wristwatch dials. I sold thousands and thousands of those watches. I had a customer that bought quite a few, and she asked me to do a wall clock for her kitchen. I went to Kmart and bought an electric clock, took it apart and did a painting on the dial. As soon as I did that, it got me into designing the clocks.”
“I was part-time bartending at Joe Lewis Arena for the hockey games and different concerts. I started getting to know some of the Detroit Red Wings and I met Dave Lewis, a hockey player that had turned coach. I hit it off with him and he bought a bunch a wristwatches from me, and one evening he said: ‘You know, I have this friend, Martin Blinder, who owns all these galleries called Martin Lawrence. I’m going to give him a call and tell him about you. So get together a package, bring it in, and I’ll mail it out to him.’ After seeing the artwork, he said the wristwatches and clock would fit in with what he had going on in his galleries. They ordered some pieces to test out, and about six weeks later, I receive this huge order from them for their eighteen galleries. That order and the subsequent orders after that funded me to do all kinds of shows with the paintings and the clocks. So that’s how I marketed myself in the very beginning. By doing all the shows and placing ads in various magazines is what got me going.”
“The clocks were really born from desiring to have a more consistent business. Early on, the clocks were very sculptural and more of a one-of-a-kind piece. But as I started dealing with more and more galleries, I had to figure out how to reproduce these pieces 12 times or 80 times. It went from just a few galleries to where I was doing wholesale shows. And galleries from all over the country are now placing orders with me. Just as I’m adjusting to dealing with the production part of art, and I still wanted it to have that hand painted quality, I discovered the laser. The laser is a machine that cuts all kinds of different shapes and parts out of all different kinds of materials. Once the paintbrush was a marvel of science. Without the paintbrush, the Mona Lisa would have never been created. I looked at the laser, and the way my brain works, it’s the same thing. Without the laser, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. All the drawings are still done by hand and all the painting, too. So it does have that quality to it.”
“As I’ve gotten older, my brother Duane told me years ago to just wait until you’re in your fifties. My brother is a very big supporter in recognizing what creativity I have. Now that I am older, my creativity is just off the charts, and has been for quite a long time. I just have this thing where, if I want to create something or if I need to design my clocks in a different direction, it is like pulling on a switch. For me, it’s been this way for a really long time. I don’t have to ponder at the blank canvas or a piece of paper in front of me. I start to do something, this thing just opens up, and it’s kind of amazing. I do know that certain people get to a point in their careers, (writers, painters), and they get the block. That’s it; that’s the end. They’re the one-hit wonder, or the one-hit painting wonder. For me, it just doesn’t stop. I guess I’m blessed with that. I love what I do and I’ve been very, very blessed with a career that has lasted as long as it has. The job of making art, sculpture, the clocks, and for me making the commitment 30-some years ago that this was what I was going to do was a blessing. There was a little bit of stress, because I knew that I would get to a point in my life where it didn’t work out, or if I got burned out and couldn’t come up with any new ideas, what would I do? That was a stressful period and it lasted for a while, but here it is over 30 years later and it’s a moneymaking business, so I’ve never come close to that.”
“For all the young budding artists: I think a good work ethic is really important—but love what you do. Pablo Picasso’s work ethic was outrageous, but he never did anything else. I wouldn’t want to live a life like that. I love to do what I do. For me, when I wake up really early in the morning, I love every single day—because I’m drawn to it and there’s an excitement and wondering: ‘What is today going to bring me?’”
“When I was 19 years old, I had this fabulous idea of constructing the world’s largest canvas and I would do this amazing large painting and auction it off and use the money to solve some of the world’s problems, like trying to feed everyone who’s starving. I couldn’t wait for my brother to get home so I could share it with him. My brother came home and he thought I was crazy. Then, as we talked about it, I realized I could never do it. The cost would be prohibitive. That’s something that’s always been an underlying current with me. If I were to ever become fabulously wealthy, I would still want to do something like that. If I won the lottery, I would probably buy a building in Las Vegas or New York and I would create an audio-visual multidimensional experience, like a 3-dimensional painting for people to walk through, because anything like that doesn’t yet exist.”
David’s artwork is available for purchase at:
Firenet.TV • Bellacor.com • Amazon.com • Walmart.com