Hinnebusch was my student in 1998 at the Santa
Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture, where at
first I found him to be annoying and insistent. These types
of students can be nightmares, however there were a number of
redeeming aspects about David -- he would do anything, try anything,
take any amount of shit off anyone, was not afraid to make a
fool of himself, had a bizarre sense of humor and above all
he persisted in just doing his work.
I thought he was either truly mad or he really wanted something
out of the experience of art making or perhaps both. He was
like a child who could barely take direction. I think the only
thing I might have actually succeeded in doing was introducing
him to the work of painter Francesco
After school I lost track of David, only to rediscover him casually
a couple of years later at an opening. He looked as crazy as
I had remembered him and I thought to myself, do I really want
to reconnect with this guy? We talked for a while and, as usual,
David was always very nice and seemed to have a lot of respect
for me. It's hard to ice someone who genuinely seems to like
you for whatever reason.
He told me that he was currently showing his work, selling his
work and to some extent making his work on the Venice boardwalk.
This really interested me, in part, because I had always thought
that doing so might be a great performance piece for a “trained”
artist who had gone through the rigors of an M.F.A. program
and because I would never have the guts to do such a thing myself.
It would also be interesting just to see how people might react
to him. How would they treat an artist such as David,
someone who was seriously doing their work, publicly, on the
A couple of weeks later I went to the Venice boardwalk with
a date and came upon David's set up. My date was an artist well-known
for his career in the late eighties and early nineties when
artists thought a lot about career maneuvers and the money that
could be made. Predictably, my date was mortified when I seriously
engaged David that day about his work and the fact that he chose
to "inhabit" the boardwalk Thursday through Sunday
After on-going discussions with David, I believe that his work
is very simple -- it is about following his interests, of which
David has many. David is not a good editor of his own work
and I'm not convinced he should be either. His work is about
something other than making the right moves to impress, to sell
or to maintain consistency. I am convinced that making use of
the Venice boardwalk was a brilliant and intuitive action on
his part. It seems that the chaos the boardwalk provides, day
in and day out, is a clear external manifestation of David's
internal lan ape. Visually, David reminds me of the Venice
version of painter Roberto
Matta -- gone wrong.
The artist Max
Ernst got fed up with living in New York City and decided
to head west with his then wife Dorothea Tanning. When they
arrived at Sedona, Arizona Ernst suddenly realized that he'd
come upon the place he'd been painting about all these years,
never knowing that such a place actually existed in reality
until that moment. They settled there and he lived out the rest
of his natural life.
This is what I think happened to David. He'd been making art
about the kind of chaos one finds on the Venice boardwalk and
never truly made the connection until he put himself there.
It seems that his work is given a fuller understanding by virtue
of the context the boardwalk provides.
Of his own admission, David is an exhibitionist though he claims
that he makes his work in "private time." Working
and exhibiting on the boardwalk seems to provide a venue for
both aspects of his person. He says that he makes his paintings
on the boardwalk to pass the time and that in essence it is
no different than working in his studio. He is able to close
out the external chaos enough to focus on the internal one.
David is a person of porous boundaries, maybe few boundaries
altogether and working in the manner that he does is smart.
It allows him to just be, see and be seen and do whatever interests
him within a context which itself is porous. David's work engenders
the spirit of the Venice boardwalk and in turn the boardwalk
provides David with more than perhaps even he is aware of.