ARTIST INTERVIEW: David Scheid Stained Glass
David Scheid is a stained glass artist whose work is inspired by the light and landscapes of California. He spends most of his time on the road, as a tour manager for bands including Girl Talk, Beirut, and Dinosaur Jr. At home in Los Angeles, he builds colorful, geometric stained glass pieces and custom windows. His work has been installed in houses, gardens, and shops throughout the West Coast and greater United States.
We asked David some questions to learn more about his artistic journey.
What path led me to the work you do now?
I was (and still am) in a field supporting other people’s creativity and I felt stifled. I had learned how to make stained glass in my twenties. One day Beatrice [Valenzuela] and Ramsey [Conder] mentioned they wanted a stained glass window for their new door. It just hit me that I KNEW how to do it. I was starved for a creative outlet of my own and they helped rekindle my love of stained glass. Thanks, Bea and Ramsey!
Where do you see your work going in the next couple of years?
I’m taking the fall off from my regular career to try to focus on the glass. I have put literally NO effort into the business side of being an artist. I’ll try to grow that part of it while designing some new pieces.I see most of the smaller items I make as studies for bigger ideas I have for custom installs. That’s where I really want to head in this endeavor, large (or any size!) custom windows for people.
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
Donald Judd is a huge influence. I recently went to The Block in Marfa, TX. This is an old military base that he turned into studios, libraries and his home. I was surprised how emotional it was for me. The studios are now more like galleries with his work from very early days until late in his life. And when you see his it installed as he wanted it and not crammed into the corner of a museum somewhere, it’s very powerful. I also loved seeing his early work up close and the imperfections and the process. It made me think I should be way less critical of myself. His will stated that nothing should be moved when he died, like no books, no artwork, nothing. So it was very inspiring how considered and careful things were in his spaces. It’s funny because that is not really how I am in my life and space. My work space is a mess all the time. It’s in a garage. My living room has magazines everywhere and stuff on the dining room table. But I do think that that level of consideration plays out in how my work and process goes. I can spend quite a long time trying to figure out which color of glass should go next to that other color.
What other artist currently working do you admire?
Tauba Auerbach and Ry Rocklen are two current artists that are beyond inspiring. Pretty much for the same reasons that I mentioned for Judd.
Tauba is a painter and sculptor in NYC whose work is very mathematical and SMART. It’s really mind blowing. She will find scientists and scholars to learn from and collaborate with. What I really love though is that she also works very hands on with the fabricators and learns these new processes along the way. It seems she’s always working in a new medium and is always excited to share the things she’s seen and learned.
Ry is an artist in LA who’s work is based on everyday objects he finds in the streets of LA. It’s so conceptual I have a hard time describing the work to people. But it’s so fun and beautiful and intriguing. I’m always smiling when I’m thinking about it.
What do you hope to share with those who purchase your art and bring it intimately into their lives?
Lately I’ve been thinking about the legacy of these things I make. I think what’s special about them is their subtlety. I have them hanging all over my house. And there might be days that I don’t really notice them at all. But other days where I wake up looking at one in the bedroom and I lay there meditate on it for an hour.
I like to think about people owning them for years or decades. And kids growing up with them.
I gave a friend a piece for her kids second birthday. Well, I guess I gave it to Emmanuelle but obviously he didn’t care about it. But like to think about him growing up looking at it hanging in his window. It will just be something he grows up with and maybe ignores it for awhile the older he gets. But I also hope that when he gets his own place he’ll want to take it with him. It’s like this permanent thing in his life.