Mr. David Roberts balances life as a freelance artist and teacher

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By Luke Ebora

Fine arts teacher Mr. David Roberts, an integral member of the Loyola art community, has been educating students at Loyola for over six years. Although he works in an academic setting, he is not restricted to the academic confines of school; in fact, his artistry and ingenuity continue to transcend the campus boundaries.

PHOTO BY AUSTIN NUFABLE

PHOTO BY AUSTIN NUFABLE

Mr. Roberts was born to be an artist, having been raised by his father whose various occupations, including carpentry, landscaping, and mechanics, revolved around the very art of creativity.

“Throughout my whole life I have loved being able to problem solve through the creative process,” said Mr. Roberts. “I grew up learning how to cut wood, weld, and construct through my father.”

Being called by his inclination to create, Mr. Roberts attended the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on visual art and photography.

After graduating from UCSD, Mr. Roberts pursued a career as a freelance artist. For 12 years, he sold his photography and sculptures independently while working various jobs on the side, such as a docent, framer, curator, and art conservationist at several museums in San Diego. He also worked as a set builder for stop motion music videos.

“The excitement of selling your work is an extremely fulfilling experience,” said Mr. Roberts, “but unless you’re well known, paying the bills and dealing with life’s responsibilities can be difficult without a consistent full-time career.”

Pushed by both the need to earn a steady income and a desire to teach art, Mr. Roberts turned to the educational field and became a teacher at 28 years old. Prior to teaching at Loyola and moving to Los Angeles in 2010, he taught at various schools in northern California.

Although teaching at Loyola would be considered his primary job, Mr. Roberts is constantly developing new art outside of the classroom, spending a large portion of his time developing paper craft structure. This type of sculpture that, other than his photography, is one of the main staples of his artistic body.

In the past, Mr. Roberts has sold several of his paper craft structures and has even had his own art show, which took place five years ago; in the meantime, he has decided to put his freelance work on hold. The primary reason for his decision to focus less on his personal art was his pursuit of a master’s degree.

“I stepped away from creating sculptures when I decided to pursue my master’s degree and have recently started to create a new body of work with the hope of solidifying another show,” said Mr. Roberts.

While searching for new outlets to express his creativity, Mr. Roberts discovered the then-rising photography app: Instagram. After several years of photo sharing, he has accumulated a total of almost 30,000 followers over two different accounts. Recently, however, Mr. Roberts said he has lost interest in the social media platform, though he continues to share his photography on a regular basis.

Looking toward the future, Mr. Roberts has made it clear that he will continue both teaching and developing art in an attempt at finding a happy medium.

Mr. Roberts said, “ I love teaching and I look forward to coming to work every day. Loyola has been a blessing, and the students make my day worthwhile. I will always create [artwork]on the side of teaching. I believe a healthy balance exists when you can to teach what you love, while doing what you love at the same time.”

Students can find Mr. Roberts’ work on Instagram @slvrlyt and @slvrlyt_76.

 

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