In 1978, after receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree with a specialization in drawing and painting from Eastern Michigan University, David decided to use his artistic skills to make a living. For the next 35 years he worked as a freelance commercial illustrator, while also founding a creative agency that developed into one of the leading advertising/brand development firms in Ann Arbor, MI.
After retiring from agency life in 2015 David built a home studio and began his second career as a fine artist. A year later he accepted an adjunct teaching professorship in Painting, Watercolor Painting, Illustration Techniques and Two-dimensional Design at Monroe County Community College. It was a homecoming of sorts, since MCCC was where he decided to become an artist 43 years earlier. Teaching part time offered the opportunity to give back to young aspiring artists, and he continued teaching for nearly 3 1/2 years. Dave took his “second retirement” from teaching in December, 2019 in order to devote more time to his artwork.
Perhaps because of his background as an illustrator — which required a lot of detailed realistic rendering — he has taken a stripped-down approach for the current work. It is inspired by the late 19th and early 20th century Masters Picasso, Modigliani, Castorati and Schiele, as well as Japanese woodblock prints. Using graphite, charcoal, and pastel on Lokta handmade paper, he has developed a mostly linear style that addresses universal themes highlighting the human condition and the natural world. A friend recently commented on his drawings which successfully captures his intent:
Nice tension between open space and intense line work. You’ve used a very personalized flat graphic style to portray psychological depth, an excellent accomplishment!
In the future the direction of the work may expand into other mediums, but for now he continues to explore his creative expression through the drawings highlighted on this site.
Download Dave’s Bio-Artist Statement here: Hile_David_CV