Get to know

David Chatfield

Artist + Educator in Denver, CO
David Chatfield, Image by Alexis Oliver


Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, my venture into the arts began the moment I smelled linseed oil. That smell lit a fire in me in the same way that I imagine an alcoholic’s first drink hits them.

Formerly a disillusioned office monkey, I am now an artist and educator based in Denver, CO. I have taught at the University and Community College levels for 10 years and have exhibited in Philadelphia, Chicago, and internationally as a part of the Emirates Fine Art Society’s 29th Annual Exhibition in Sharjah, U.A.E.

I also worked for 7 years as a political organizer with Drinking Liberally’s Philadelphia chapter and 5 years organizing Adjunct Unions with United Academics of Philadelphia. This experience of building power through community underpins both my artistic and mentorship practices.

I am currently a full-time artist and educator after leaving my Art Faculty position at the Community College of Aurora. I’m also on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts Center. At both institutions, I am able to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mentor. You can read my teaching philosophy here.

I am fascinated by contradiction, and my work attempts to exist in the space between contradictions, inconsistencies, and incongruities.

I hope you enjoy the work; feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

Artist Statement

Generally speaking, my experience as an expendable and disillusioned office monkey, and most recently as an overworked and underpaid Adjunct Instructor, informs my work and has gradually become focused on labor and economic issues.

Initially, I made images involving the spaces designed to contain people for the purpose of work, cubicles for example, and the human beings occupying those spaces. At one point the absence of a figure (or evidence of unemployment) became an interesting way to explore the space as a stage for my ideas.

My work in recent years has been about my previous employment experiences, or frankly, my roller-coaster ride of employment experiences, from under-employment to my long stints of expert-level training in Craigslist/jobs to organizing Adjunct Unions with United Academics of Philadelphia. After being laid off for a second time during the Great Recession of aught-eight, I began researching iconic imagery of past economic disasters, specifically the Great Depression.

I wanted to find the connective tissue between that era and the recent economic climate, then insert my personal experience, while trying to unify the possible disparities through pictorial and stylistic means. This usually involves layering contrasting imagery and finding the appropriate processes to achieve the desired contrast. Recently this has included combining digital collage, printmaking, and painting.

My recent work continues this thread, exploring the so-called “gig economy” and tying it to the past. I’ve recently paired Uber drivers with Hobos, both itinerant and contingent at-will workers. With this in mind, I’ve digitally translated the Uber logo into Hobo graffiti and combined iconic imagery of Hobos into modern contexts.

The contradictions and incongruities between artificial workspaces and workers, the economic past and present, and having a job while still being poor is where my work currently sits.