The Evolution of an Artist (The Party House)

When I first moved to Toronto, I lived in a huge party house in midtown. It was a lot of fun. Almost too much fun. It was there, that I decided to devote my life to art.



ABOVE: David McDonough, Nausea, mixed media, 16 x 20 x 1 inches (one of my earliest surviving artworks)

When I first moved to Toronto, I lived in a huge party house in midtown. It was a lot of fun. Almost too much fun.

Despite declaring war on my brain cells, it wasn’t a total wash. It was there, that I decided to devote my life to art.

My first works were acrylic on canvas, and they were awful. I produced about four, then decided to experiment with other materials.

I tried my hand at just about everything, but the results were always the same – awful.

Finally, almost by accident, I discovered glass. I had a broken picture frame and on a whim, I decided to paint it. I loved the vibrancy it lent the colors.

Over the next two years, I worked almost exclusively with glass. My subject matter was all over the place, and I’d yet to develop a unique style, but I did improve, and I knew I was onto something.

Eventually, everyone went their separate ways, and I moved into my own place.

While I was still a ways away from being able to produce what I do today, the years I spent in that party house set the foundation for my artistic practice.

Art Defined: Part 2

What’s the difference between modern and contemporary art? What is provenance? A Catalogue Raisonné? Here are some common art terms defined.


me working

Modern Art

Art that was produced in the late 1860’s through the 1970’s and that rejected traditionally accepted forms and emphasized individual experimentation and sensibility.

Contemporary Art

Art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II. The definition would support the first view, but museums of contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced since World War II.

Art Movement

An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, usually a few months, years or decades. Wikipedia


1) Place of origin; derivation. 2) The history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated. Used artworks, antiques, and books. 3) The records or documents authenticating such an object or the history of its ownership.

Catalogue Raisonné

An exhaustive book which covers every known work of an individual artist up to the year of the book’s publication. Typically, a catalogue raisonné is only written by the leading expert(s) on said artist, over the course of many years’ research.

Primary Art Market

The primary market offers the work that emerges from artists’ studios and is often displayed in carefully curated gallery shows.

Secondary Art Market

The resale market for art. Every time a work of art is sold after the initial sale (primary), it is a secondary market sale.

Art Defined

What’s Conceptualism? What are the roles of the artist, critic and curator? Here are some common art terms defined.



Fine Art

A visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture.


1) A set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty. 2) The branch of philosophy which deals with questions of beauty and artistic taste. Oxford Dictionary


Art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Wikipedia


1) One skilled or versed in learned arts. 2) One who professes and practices an imaginative art. 3) A person skilled in one of the fine arts. 4) A skilled performer. 5) One who is adept at something. Merriam-Webster


1) One who forms and expresses judgements of the merits, faults, value, or truth of a matter. 2) One who specializes especially professionally in the evaluation and appreciation of literary or artistic works. 3) One who tends to make harsh or carping judgments; a faultfinder.


1) A person in charge of a department of a museum or other place where objects of art, science, or from the past are collected. 2) A person who organizes and arranges a showing of art or other objects of interest.

How I Became an Artist

There is no easy way to become an artist. For most of us, it’s a struggle. Here is how I stumbled upon my passion.



ABOVE: David McDonough, Look, mixed media, 18.5 x 22.5 x 2 inches

As a child, I was always drawing, and my parents had to force me to play with other children.

In elementary school, art was my best subject, and I won numerous competitions and awards.

In high school, I discovered apathy, and I quit drawing. Art was just an easy subject.

In University, I discovered weed, and it amplified my apathy. I didn’t take any art or arts related courses.

Once out of school, I slacked my way through most of my twenties without any drive or ambition.

One day, after a lengthy bong session, it hit me: I had no hobbies or interests. That really bothered me, so I laid down the bong, and I picked up a brush.

Because I had neglected my talent for years, my first efforts were downright awful. Undeterred, I practiced non-stop, and in so doing, I rediscovered my passion.

After four years, and hundreds of hours, my art had gone from awful to okay. After another four years, and thousands of hours, it was good enough to start showing.

It was tough at first (I faced an almost overwhelming amount of rejection), but I refused to quit, and I applied to the best shows over and over again.

After developing a unique style and building a consistent body of work, it slowly began to get better, and I went from showing my art to nobody, to showing it to thousands.

That is how I became an artist.

I still have a long way to go, but I am definitely on the right track.