David J. Marchi is unlike most visual artists thriving in the world today. The contemporary abstract artist did not even have an inclination for painting most of his life until his boat accident in 2015 that resulted in a fractured back and an injury on both wrists. After that life-changing event, he started having dreams and unique perspectives and was inspired to paint them all without any formal training, coaching, and direct influence. He simply woke up one day and knew he could paint.
The late Dr. Darold Treffert diagnosed David J. Marchi with a rare condition known as Acquired Savant Syndrome, where dormant savant skills emerge after a spinal or brain injury or disease in previously non-disabled persons. There are only 300 reported cases around the world, and their newfound skills can be categorized into five: music, calendar calculating, mathematics, art, and spatial or mechanical skills. People diagnosed with this unique condition often find a way to transform their newfound skills into a form of passion. For every person diagnosed with Acquired Savant Syndrome, however, the manner of discovering their new skill comes in different ways. Nonetheless, these new skills often usher in a new and exciting season in patients’ lives.
“The methodology to my art is a spiritual and subconscious process,” David J. Marchi shared. “I dream the colors and painting structures first, imprinting the image in my head. In my studio, I sit on the floor, look at the negative space and start to pick the colors from the shelf. I line them together on the canvas giving him a tangible perspective of the dream.”
Years after he was diagnosed, he is now making art his lifelong passion. He is currently attending the Art Students League of New York, where he studies under Larry Poons, Peter Bonner, and Ronnie Landfield. He is also an artist member of the prestigious Silvermine Guild of Artists, whose mission is to promote and encourage growth through arts and to foster art appreciation and education opportunities for individuals and communities. He sits on the Board of Directors of The Hygienic Gallery. Additionally, he is a member of The Carriage Barn, MOMA, Guggenheim, and The Whitney.
To elevate his healing from the accident and visual art skills, he attended several artist residencies, including the Berlin Art Institute in Germany, Casa Na Ilha in Brazil, The Shacks in Massachusetts, and Chateau Orquevaux in France. He has managed to use his art to support worthy causes such as human rights campaigns. He was able to contribute to support Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, Positive Exposure, and Our Hearts Speaks.
Interestingly, he draws inspiration from some of the art world’s most notable names, from Hans Hofmann to Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Paul Cézanne, Piet Mondrian, and Frank Stella.
As he continues to fill the world with dreamy bold colors that carry so much meaning, there is no doubt that the exceptional artist will see many more astounding opportunities open for him in the future. And as he embraces these opportunities, people can continue to draw inspiration from his grit and deep love for art.