Born in Helensburgh in 1977, David Caldwell RP studied Drawing and Painting at the Glasgow School of Art. Upon graduating, Caldwell exhibited his works for the first time at The John Cunningham Memorial Award Exhibition in 1999. He went on to receive the Ruth Davidson Memorial Award in 2002 and was awarded an Artist's Residency in the South of France. He then exhibited his work at the BP Portrait Award and was elected as Artist in Residence for Lewisham College, London. Caldwell went on to attend The Prince's Drawing School, winning the Drawing Year Prize in 2005.
Caldwell has since exhibited his works in galleries across London, Northern Ireland and Glasgow and has won multiple prestigious awards and residencies for painting, including the Bulldog Bursary from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Founder's Purchase Prize at the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition. As an elected member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Caldwell has painted portraits of many notable sitters including Sir Stephen Hillier KCB OBE DFC ADC, Lord Irvine Laidlaw, Justin Currie, John Amabile and Katie Kissoon. Ruth Borchard Collection acquired his self-portrait in 2012. Caldwell currently teaches drawing and painting at the Hampstead School of Art.
Caldwell's work is inspired by the visual world and is concerned with translating his own experience of seeing, capturing both the likeness and energetic presence of his subjects. His subjects range from portraiture to still-life to landscapes. Caldwell primarily paints from life and is interested in the process of translating three dimensions into two. He cites his key artistic inspirations as the 'painterly' artists Velazquez, Cezanne, Titian, Rembrandt, Bonnard and Morandi.
Caldwell's self-portrait exemplifies his fascination with the genre, he views self-portraiture as an entirely unique genre, stating:
'Alone with oneself one is allowed to look deeper and longer into one's eyes; to scrutinise every aspect of the subject without the imposition of any brief. Also, one knows the subject inside out. There is a familiarity and history invested in the subject that separates it from any other.'
This unencumbered scrutiny of subject can be seen in Caldwell's emotive application of oil on board, each and every contour of his face and shoulders captured with careful mastery.