Originally Written for Niagara News
By MAZIE BISHOP
In a technological age of graphically-designed art, handdrawn artistic talent is hard to find, but thanks to 19-year-old David McAllister, of Niagara Falls, it’s here.
Anyone viewing his art will attest McAllister wields skill beyond his years. As a portrait artist who can draw or paint some of the best re-creations with some of the simplest materials or dollar store paints, McAllister is humble about his brilliant skills.
McAllister said he knew at a young age that art was his love.
“I have been at art since roughly the age of five. It may have been a bit sooner or later, but it was roughly around that time that I knew that I really loved what I was doing.”
Inspired by cartoons and animations on television he began to work improving his skills on his own. It wasn’t until high school at Stamford Collegiate that he started attending art classes.
“I had always tried to just improve on my own, and it was sort of working, but it wasn’t until I met my art teacher, Amy Ballett. She gave me so much help with shading and colouring, and has brought me so far over the years. Inspiration wise, I was never really around a lot of art culture as a kid, so that was introduced much later in life.”
Ballet has known McAllister since he was in Grade 9 and has been his mentor ever since. Ballet said she is always showing his artwork to her students to spark inspiration.
“David will tell you that he wasn’t as talented and that I somehow taught him to be great, but he just wanted it so badly that his natural ability improved steadily all through his years with me, and so maybe it was a bit of both. He earns his accolades because he works so hard on his work.”
Brian McAllister, 26, has seen the progression in his brother’s work over the past few years.
“In my opinion, David has the talent to do whatever he wants to. Whether it is being a tattoo artist, graphics design, a portrait artist, anything in general, but art in particular. Especially since numerous celebrities have noticed him: James Wan, director of SAW, Dead Silence, The Conjuring, Insidious 1&2; actress Lin Shaye in Insidious 1&2, Detroit Rock City; actor Norman Reedus, in Walking Dead, Boondock Saints, Blade 2. All have expressed their appreciation for his talent.”
Throughout his journey as an artist, his friends and family have supported McAllister. Brooke Gilbert, his best friend, has been there to see him and his skills progress.
“I knew he was in art class, but I didn’t really see much artwork from him since he was super shy in high school. I found out about him being an artist when I actually went over to his house to hang out and saw his bedroom and living room walls with all his art. I would say he has always been an artist.”
Gilbert said she hopes to see him attend more conventions and have opportunities to meet some of his greatest idols.
“He has brought a unique perspective to portrait art and he can spot subtle beautiful details that others miss,” said Gilbert. “He isn’t afraid to go out of his comfort zone and try something new and learn from his mistakes. I hope that he stays true to himself and continues to do what makes him happy.”
McAllister constantly strives to better his skills, and it is no secret he has an extremely promising future as an artist. He said he hopes to inspire other artists as much as his idols and mentors inspired him.
“If you’re an aspiring artist who is discouraged, remember that any artist you look up to has been in the exact same position as you at one point in their life. Don’t ever stop trying.”
If you are interested in seeing more of McAllister’s art, his Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/myworldincolor.