Davyd Whaley (1967-2014) was born an artist but he was forced to accept that ‘art’ was not a practical career choice.
Unable to afford college, he instead joined the Navy where he discovered he excelled at electrical engineering.
In 2009, Whaley suffered another life-threatening, grand mal seizure. He was in a coma for several hours and was hospitalized for several days afterwards. “After the last seizure, I had an epiphany. I woke to the realization that painting was what I was meant to do.”
His artistic work took an explosive, creative turn and Whaley channeled this new energy into painting full time.
WHALEY, DAVYD (1967-2014)
Davyd Whaley was born an artist. He loved drawing, sketching, and painting from an early age. But he grew up in eastern Tennessee, in a poor region of the Appalachian Mountains, where his passion and aptitude for art was not met with encouragement. As a young man, Whaley was forced to accept that ‘art’ was not a practical career choice.
Unable to afford college, he instead joined the Navy where he discovered he excelled at electrical engineering. After a four-year stint in the service, mostly on submarines, Whaley went back to school and earned his degree at North Carolina State University. His success in the engineering field took him to various parts of the country before he eventually settled in Los Angeles.
While Whaley enjoyed electrical engineering, he did not enjoy the modern, corporate mindset. There was an unusual amount of stress associated with his employment. Stress may very well have been the cause of a health crisis that led to his retirement from his job: He experienced a series of unexplained seizures that made it impossible for him to continue to work in the engineering field. Whaley looked for an outlet to relieve the stress and returned to his love of painting. “When I was younger, I had never been able to go to art school. However, beginning in 2007, I found myself in New York City for extended periods of time. I began taking classes at The Art Student’s League.” In 2009, Whaley suffered another life-threatening, grand mal seizure. He was in a coma for several hours and was hospitalized for several days afterwards. This time the crisis proved to be a blessing in disguise. When Whaley emerged from his unconscious state he was a changed man: “This period of unconsciousness changed everything: My relationships, how I viewed the world, and how I wanted to exist in the world. My willingness to explore deeper meanings and the connection they had to my day to day life became extremely tangible and omnipresent.” After the last seizure, I had an epiphany. I woke to the realization that painting was what I was meant to do.” His artistic work took an explosive, creative turn and Whaley channeled this new energy into painting full time.
The work of Carl Jung—his desire to understand the unconscious mind through the study of dreams, symbols, art, and philosophy—further informed how Whaley approached his painting. He dutifully kept a ‘dream journal,’ which he wrote in every day after he first awakens. It’s a roadmap of sorts for his work. Working with large, un-stretched canvases on the floor, Whaley sets out to piece together these glimpses into his subconscious and dreams.
Having finally found his niche, and receiving the support and encouragement lacking in his youth, Whaley began showing his work. His paintings have since been featured in numerous Art magazines, events, and galleries across the country and been featured on several, popular television shows including Prime Suspect, The Lying Game, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.
As a service to the community, Whaley began teaching art classes to seniors and underprivileged kids in East Los Angeles in 2011. As part of this curriculum, he arranged to take the students to museums; for many, their very such first exposure. In 2012, the County of Los Angeles recognized Whaley’s work, naming him Volunteer of the Year. “I love it,” he admits, “People say I’m giving back but I truly get as much, if not more from my students. To see the art they create, which represents their lives, culture and history is extraordinary. Helping them tap into the creative outlet that, literally, saved my life is a joy.” As a child who loved art but didn’t see it as viable option for his life, Whaley wanted his students to see a future full of possibilities; one that includes art, if that’s what they love. In October 14, 2014 Whaley died leaving behind a lasting legacy in his work.
- Gallery For the People – Group Show: Summer Collection 12 – curated by Eva Daniels & Ally Canosa, Hosted by Harvey Weinstein, Beverly Hills
- LAAA- Gallery 825 – Annual Art Auction – West Hollywood, CA
- Santa Fe Art Colony – Group Show: Studio Showcase – Los Angeles
- Affordable Art Fair – Group Show – Art Expo, Toronto
- Topanga Gallery – Group / Open Show – Juried by Franklyn Liegel
- City of Brea Art Gallery – Group Show: 27th Made in CA – Juried by Rebecca Morse, MOCA – Los Angeles
- Art Expo, NY – Group Show – New York City
- Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA) – Gallery 825 – Group Show: Gem – Los Angeles
- Brit Week – Group Show : T4C – Los Angeles
- LAAA – Gallery 825 – Group Show: Out There – Los Angeles
- Agora Gallery – Group Show: Enigmatic Realms – New York
- Santa Fe Art Colony – Group Show – Studio Showcase – Los Angeles
- Project Angel Food – Group Show: Get Art4 – Siren Studios, Los Angeles
- Shoshana Wayne Gallery – Group Show: Chain Letter – Santa Monica
- Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts – Group Show: 7 x Eleven – Grand Rapids
- Art Prize – Group & Solo Appearance – Fields of Play – Grand Rapids
- Red Dot, Miami – Group & Solo Appearance
- Hollywood Arts – Group Show: Dream Awards – Raleigh Studios, Los Angeles
- Project Angel Food – Group Show: Divine Designs – Beverly Hills
- Brooklyn Artist Gym – – Solo Show : Anima Speaks – Brooklyn, New York
- Studio 12 Gallery – – Solo Show: Flood The Subconscious– Denver
- Ghostlight – Palmetto Albums
- Switched at Birth – ABC
- Californication – Showtime
- DirectTV – National Commercial
- Revenge – ABC
- Up All Night – CBS
- Prime Suspect – CBS
- 2 Broke Girls – CBS
- The Lying Game – The CW
- Pretty Little Liars – ABC Family
- Gossip Girl – The CW
- The Pregnancy Project – Lifetime TV Movie
- Chuck – NBC – Storyboard
- The Middleman – ABC Family – Storyboard
- Greek – ABC Family – Storyboard
- The OC – Fox – Storyboard
- 90210 – CBS – Storyboard