As an artist, David has been making work in Leeds for nine years, exploring the connection between people and their environments. As well as making work around the UK and internationally, David also thinks it is important to consider the impact of his practice locally. For the past few years, David has made a commitment to make work in Leeds, about the people and the city – providing spaces of reflection and connection, all with the aim to tell a story of Leeds.
David is interested in people and the potential for art and design to make meaningful intervention in our lives. He believes that art can offer transformative experiences; offering new insights and allowing us to see the world from new perspectives. “I want to make art that is intellectually rigorous but also work that people feel an emotional connection with and understand it – this is really important to me”, says David.
Leeds is an expansive city with lots going on in the surrounding areas, but the city centre feels nicely intimate. There is a much-celebrated independent scene in Leeds, including food, cinemas, retail and culture which compliments the big retail outlets. It is a balance that Leeds handles uniquely well.
Christmas with us is a multimedia art installation in Leeds Station that offers a space to stop and reflect on what Christmas means to different people. Over a warm drink you are invited to listen via headphones to the stories and voices of people in the city who give an honest account of what can be a beautiful and problematic time of year. Leeds is a humble and honest city and this rawness has inspired the piece. The installation attempts to offer something different that sits against the abundance and opulence of Christmas and return us to an understanding of simplicity and warmth. The experience is free, just turn up and come in. It is open 12-8pm daily between 1-17 December.
With regards to advice for anyone looking to work within the arts sector in Leeds, David explains, “You have to make it happen yourself. My provocation might be unusual but I think it has to be about what you can offer the city, not just the other way round. Leeds is a generous place with people in all sectors and governance willing to listen but ultimately there has to be a commitment to want to do something for the city – set up a gallery, events space, coffee shop or theatre company. Leeds has the opportunities, people and spaces, you just need to be willing to offer something back”.