Artist David Alexander, took a few sculpting workshops that helped get his life and art skills back on track after a near-fatal incident.  (OBSERVER photos by Antonio R. Harvey)
Artist David Alexander, took a few sculpting workshops that helped get his life and art skills back on track after a near-fatal incident.
(OBSERVER photos by Antonio R. Harvey)

MIDTOWN SACRAMENTO — It is likely that a near-fatal incident can change a person’s entire outlook of life. Local artist and 3-D sculptor David Alexander knows this by experience. Today, he’s glad to be alive to share his “Body of Life” as well as his “Body of Work” art exhibit with others.

In 2009, Alexander was in a car accident. A vehicle going in the opposite direction jumped lanes on the highway and hit his Mazda 300 Z head-on. He survived, though unknowingly, he suffered a broken bone in his neck among his injuries. From that point, Alexander was out of commission and began dealing with a long recovery.

“The doctors had me on different kinds of medications to deal with depression, help me sleep, and to help me wake up,” Alexander told The OBSERVER. “I just went through a period where I wasn’t doing anything.”

Long before the accident, Alexander started sculpting and drawing in art classes at Highlands High School in North Highlands. After high school, Alexander enlisted in the U.S. Army and traveled around Europe during his stay. Being an artist was the farthest thing from his mind until idleness took its toll after the car accident.

Alexander discovered his artistic skills did not erode him. He would also find out that his life interruption wasn’t a disruption at all. It allowed him to improve his skills immensely.
“I needed something. So I went to this sculpture class (Art Foundry) in downtown Sacramento,” Alexander said. “That’s when I started my work. Luckily, art was there for me.”

Alexander’s artwork is totally magnificent for someone who just got back into mixed media in the last couple of years. He currently has an art exhibition entitled, “Body of Work,” at the Barton Gallery in midtown. All of his 3-D sculptures of bronze are intricate in detail and are displays of monumental importance.

Art lovers will see at the Barton Gallery 3-D images of jazz musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Grover Washington, actor Vin Diesel, and U.S. President Barack Obama. Alexander also has a few drawings on display including Louis Armstrong and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe. His body-builder brother-in-law also has a spot in the show named, “The Roc.”

Alexander’s first 3-D art, “Into the Abyss,” he made long after the accident is a part of the exhibit as well. The sculpture is of a muscular male with one arm extended (the hand looks as if it wants to grip something) and the features in his face expresses the writhing of pain. The artist said the image was created to convey his true feelings of the car accident.

“It was pretty much how I felt at the time…I felt like I was drowning,” Alexander said of “Into the Abyss.” “I was on unemployment for a whole year at that point and it didn’t seem like anything good was happening for me. I just felt like a drowning man.”

Alexander has been commissioned to do a bronze statue of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and he and fellow art colleague Adam Reeder are working on some art pieces for the Sacramento Kings that won’t be revealed until the organization is ready to do so, Alexander said. One of the projects is a 3-D, life-size bronze sword and an aluminum gladiator helmet.

Alan Osborne, who co-owns the Art Foundry and Gallery at 10th and R streets, saw from the moment Alexander began talking workshop classes with him that he was ingrained with a high aptitude of art. Osborne, a sculptor himself, said Alexander has been with him ever since.

“He’s an extremely and naturally talented guy,” Osborne said. “I think he has been in some other group shows we’ve had at the gallery. But this is the first show where he put his whole body of work together.”

By the look of Alexander’s physical appearance he looks absolutely fine for someone who was able to walk away from a traumatic accident. However, he is resolved to the fact that he has developed into a brand-new artist. He has done this by faith and commitment.

“After thinking about it, I think (the car accident) enhanced my skills quite a bit,” Alexander said. “Mainly it was just focus…I believe. Back in the day I would draw something, get bored with it and stop. It would never get done. Now, I can focus and finish all my projects.”

The closing reception for “Body of Work” is from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31. The Barton Gallery is at 1723 I Street. For more information, call (916) 370-3371.

By Antonio Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer