Part sculpture, part assemblage, David Buckingham’s bold, provocative art begins in the California desert, where he scours remote landscapes for what he calls “beautiful, battered metal, material that’s had a previous life and the scars to prove it: old tractors, hay balers, cotton pickers, rice threshers, school buses.” Having hauled masses of rainbow-colored steel back to his Los Angeles studio, he cuts, welds, and wrestles the pieces into works often inspired by movies, advertising, and music. “For the most part, I mine my own psyche,” he has said. “Each piece is a bit of a self-excavation.” With a background as an ad man, the quick wit of Buckingham’s work is obvious. Having worked at the largest advertising firms as a copywriter, he honed his skills.
Reminiscent of Pop art, Buckingham’s perpetually fresh, energetic work has an immediate impact on the viewer. It seems fitting that the discarded metal he scavenges in the desert, all of which originally formed some part of the American landscape—signage, vehicles, machinery used to grow food—is repurposed as art that so directly taps into the collective American unconscious. In his newest work, Buckingham, who worked in advertising in a former life, continues to expand on his playful, powerful motifs, with geometric abstractions recalling Op Art and color field painting, and vibrant wall sculptures shaped like pistols and iconic road signs.
Buckingham’s unconventional art education includes a stint at New York’s infamous Rivington School, which created guerilla sculpture gardens in the city, and where Buckingham took welding lessons from artist Ray “Cowboy” Kelly. He has exhibited his work extensively in the U.S. and abroad, including at California’s Riverside Art Museum and the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. His sculptures have been featured in an international advertising campaign for Wrangler
Jeans, installed as public artwork on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, and purchased by private collectors around the world.