David Boatwright

David Smith

Jun 18, 2022

Charleston's Hometown Hero of Art Brings History and Realism to the Walls of the Lowcountry

David Boatwright has and is and influential artist that we have needed for the last 40 years. His experience in film making, design, and painting as helped to enhance the art world. His use of gray scale is amazing and the realism of some murals are to the point that one feels they are in the environment for which the painting is made. below is his artist statement that explains his beginnings to today. Also what he must go through in order to create a mural in Charleston.


After graduating from SF Art Institute as a painting major Boatwright spent several years making short experimental films which he showed at many of the cinematheques in Europe. He returned to his home state of South Carolina in 1977, and received a National Endowment for the Arts individual artist grant to make documentary films in Charleston. He later became a graduate fellow at AFI film school in Los Angeles, co-founded a film production company, directed over 100 commercials, and made several documentaries.


While working as a filmmaker, he maintained an interest in studio painting and was fortunate to return to Charleston in 1984, as it began to expand culturally and demographically. David soon found that he could support himself and a growing family by working as a designer, painter, filmmaker, and musician.


Working under the mantle of Lucky Boy Art, Boatwright's painting evolved into a specialty as he began creating large murals and hand-painted signs on many exterior façades around Charleston. In addition to the signs, he was also being commissioned to make murals and paintings for the interiors of restaurants, and was able to sell studio pieces to collectors and commercial establishments.


Producing public murals for clients with a rigorous city approval process—all while maintaining artistic integrity—has, at times, been elusive and difficult. Over time, his clients began to give him a wider latitude, and he has been able to merge personal expression with the specific needs of a project in a balanced way, growing as a painter through the experience.


I must start with this gray scale painting. His ability to create so many shades and blend it that it feels to be a colorful and vibrant painting is amazing. The shadow play is precise and textural development he designed allows the viewer to experience this setting which he brought from what has once been.


Being a Marylander myself, many here claim the rights to Edgar Allen Poe. However many do not realize that he was a transient and spent much of his early life in Charleston. I appreciate the faded look to Poe and fits the idea of him well. His themes of the poems and short stories were dark and mysterious. While also long since past, Poe is only remembered as an image that is faded. The ability to create this so the image of Poe is but an after thought makes the viewer want to peer into his gloomy eyes and try to image what he is thinking.


Boatwright has brought part of the marsh land into this brick laid room. The branches of the trees appear to be hanging inside the room and a leaf might fall onto the floor at any moment. He has created a science fiction feel where the viewer might feel they are in a Doctor Strange warp. They could walk from this room into another part of the world. David has picked up part of the Low Country marsh lands and placed it inside this enclosure.


I am showing you this mural not only for the beauty and the realism, but with Boatwright posing here, it helps the viewer to feel the mural is and extension and the exit onto a veranda. The potted plants, shading from the light source, and the steps exiting help to bring the realistic feel for which I believe David was trying to achieve This makes me feel I am in Bologna. I want to sit on the veranda and enjoy some great cheeses from the region.