As a young man, David McConnell began his career as a song writer and record producer in Los Angeles where he worked on album projects with iconic recording artists such as Elliott Smith and Lou Barlow of Folk Implosion and Dinosaur Jr. Although McConnell made music for labels such as Virgin Records and Dreamworks, the industry ultimately deemed his work too experimental or avant-garde to be commercially successful.
McConnell exited the commercial music world and entered the visual art world after leaving his native California and relocating to North Carolina in 2004. He began making sound installations and large paintings that referenced the iconography and mythology of the music world. These works often address the clash of music culture and religious ideology. In 2006 he made a controversial installation that incorporated a score he composed around a recording of himself reading the first page of the Holy Bible backwards. This led to a gallery solo show which caught the attention of several museum curators on the east coast.
In 2007 Trevor Schoonmaker- the curator of contemporary art at The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University included McConnell’s most ambitious sound installation to date, “Phonosymphonic Sun” in what would become the acclaimed exhibition “The Record. Contemporary Art and Vinyl”. In 2010 the exhibition opened to mass success at The Nasher and drew major audiences as it traveled to the ICA in Boston, The Miami Art Museum and The Henry Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle.
After the birth of his son in 2010 McConnell began a quest to understand more about food, healthy eating/cooking and responsible consumer practices related to food. This research led to a largely “corporate-free” sustainably farmed diet for his son and himself and also provided inspiration for imagery that has worked its way into his video and two-dimensional work. In addition, he has expanded on his visual vocabulary by including “digital sound wave sampling” in his paintings and is also incorporating imported designer fabrics into his mixed media canvases.
McConnell’s work has been discussed or featured in publications such as Spin Magazine, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Bay Guardian and on NPR. In 2012 McConnell won the North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award.