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What do the things we own tell us about ourselves - or about their makers? As we stay at home during this pandemic, we're finding renewed appreciation and curiosity for the objects that surround us. David McCauley, a Miami-based artist, invited IMPACT.EDITION (virtually) to his home and showed us the five totems that rule his world. You’re invited as well. Perhaps you won’t look at your stuff the same way again!

Love. Hate. Freedom. “I wish I didn't need it, but incredibly grateful for it, as it allows me so much freedom in life,” says David McCauley about his wheelchair. His life drastically changed almost 12 years ago when he broke his neck. After that diving accident, David opened a new chapter of his life, challenging and rewarding at times. He established The Rise Up Gallery and The Little Haiti Laundromat Art Space which provide art therapy workshops to the community and studio/exhibition space for artists. Last year, he transformed the white floors of Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital into a jazzy art space. David feels that the workshops bring a “positive healing environment” for those who have recently faced a life-changing ordeal. IMPACT.EDITION had the privilege to attend those hospital exhibitions. That is healing for everyone.

Hands for Hands. Besides paints and brushes, David paints with a super long ‘bamboo’ device which he puts into a glove to coordinate and maintain perpendicular perspective on large scale paintings. His latest artwork in this medium depicts the holding hands. "The work is inspired by all my family, friends, partners, nurses, therapists, caretakers, kind neighbors, etc. that have helped me live a fulfilling life,” says David. "The symbolism of able hands assisting hands lacking dexterity/strength translates into many life experiences for people living with a spinal cord injury. It’s about deep love, support, gratitude, and an act of kindness."

The Ocean Dream. In the Bahamas, David found a secluded sandbar around the Berry Islands, which he called a conch bonanza. They were everywhere. He grabbed a few mature ones and made conch curry that night. David loves adventures. The sailing adventure began for him several years ago when he joined the Impossible Dream organization, which runs the only wheelchair accessible, ocean-going catamaran in the world. Their mission is to help and inspire sailors of any ability to challenge their limitations by working together to change perceptions of the unlimited possibilities available to disabled communities around the globe, and reach for the impossible. As Nelson Mandela said: “It’s impossible until it’s done.”

Brushes & Brushes. “This is what I use in my daily art practice and keep them in my wheelchair glove.” As an interdisciplinary artist, David applies various adaptive mark-making techniques in the creation of his work while exploring topics of inclusion, universal design, accessibility, and the physical state of the human body.

His work has been featured internationally in solo and group exhibitions with such institutions as Art Basel Miami Beach, UBS Planet Art, SCOPE Art Show, Galerie Lano (Paris), Cheryl Hazan Gallery (NYC), Projective Space (NYC), and The Richmond Art Museum, etc.

Literature is Not Dead. "Being two weeks in the month-long residency at Vermont Studio Center, I was getting low on supplies, so I went to a local flea market to see what kind of objects I could find," tells David about his book art piece. "I selected a few boxes of books — not for their literary titles (Danielle Steele romance novels and such) — but because of the colors of the books. They were different shades of blue and magenta, and I wanted to make a mosaic with them. I decided to run them through a table saw, and once cut, I was enamored with softness and texture of the cut pages. So, I assembled those to be front-facing, creating a pattern from the cross-sections of chopped words." David loves to read, especially when he is sailing for multiple weeks at a time. One of his favorite authors is Jon Krakauer, who wrote Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, and Where Men Win Glory, among others. "Jon was living in Boulder, Colorado when I lived there, and I was fortunate enough to meet him at a book signing and see him around town on occasion," tells David. "His vivid depictions of outdoor adventures have always touched me. I've always considered myself a modern explorer and enjoy outdoor activities, and he captures this essence in many of his books. I would be interested in reading Into Thin Air again; it's a book about a failed Mt Everest expedition in 1996, where several climbers perished after reaching the summit. Krakauer's story is one of humanity and survival at its heart."


The artist community is one among many that have been gravely affected by COVID-19. Cancelled exhibitions and workshops due to the crisis has led to financial hardships. Please donate to the Laundromat Art Space to support the space and their artists.

Thank you!


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