David Gothard Profile
posted: December 11, 2006
A few weeks ago I met with David Gothard in one of his favorite spots in New York: Central Park. He talked about his roots in drawing comicbook super heroes and how he branched out from there.

"I was doing super heroes when I was eight, nine, ten years old, and then I started switching over to, believe it or not–it's very unlikely for a kid in Brooklyn–but I started doing nature studies. I went to Erasmus Hall in Flatbush, in Brooklyn, and I became known as the Bird Man of Erasmus, because I would draw birds and animals continuously: tediously detailed drawings with a rapidograph.

"I started out drawing from pictures and then word got out and people would get ahold of stuffed animals and stuffed birds and everything.  So I'd have them on loan in my house for long periods of time.  I would draw them in every conceivable angle. I'd imagine them swooping down on a mouse; I'd bring them to life!

"So I was in high school and I was drawing birds and animals, and a substitute art teacher came in one day and was so taken by my drawings that he literally dragged me by the scruff of the neck to Pratt–that day!–and made me sit down, fill out applications, and meet with people. After that, he just disappeared off the face of the earth; I never saw him again. I've tried to track him down, but I can't find him. Scott Wolkoff was his name.

"So I went to Pratt, and finally hooked up with two teachers that would become my mentors: Jimmy Grashow and Joseph Smith. Jimmy Grashow really spun me like a top when he made me realize that my ability to draw was not my main asset; that my ability to conceptualize, to be able to take an article or a piece of text and to translate it into a concept, was really my strength.

"You know, I think that what every artist hopes to do is connect with people looking at their art in an emotional way. An intellectual way too, but first emotionally. You want to make people feel something. The most rewarding moment is when somebody will tell you that your drawing just summed up all their feelings that they ever had on that issue.

"But I'm not comfortable with praise, directly, when somebody is telling me how much they like my work. I'm very awkward about it. I don't handle it well, and I kind of try to defuse it. But afterwards, when I reflect upon it, I'm really happy that they made the point in telling me about it and I'll bring it up to my family or whatever."