About The Artist

Born David Nathaniel Larks, 1961 Burlingame, California, into a typical suburban family, mom, dad, boy and a girl. I was the boy and my older sister was the girl. My parents divorced when I was 3, then it was just mom, Lori and me. Because of life’s circumstances, I ended up attending 14 different schools up into my first year of university. I had achieved college advance placement status for the U.S. but entered university in Montreal Canada, where my Mom and Step Father had just moved. Canada wouldn’t except my Advanced Placement status and insisted that I take beginning art courses all over again. I was so bored and also realized that this particular art curriculum was not a good match for my desire to follow in great illustrators footsteps.

So I dropped out and made a comic book portfolio. Then I hitch hiked to NYC with one of my best friends. I visited Neil Adams studio and Marvel Comics. At Marvel, I presented my portfolio all over the reception area until this cool older guy came out and looked at it. He went back in to get Jim Shooter , who was the Editor in Chief at the time. Jim came out and was nice about saying, “Pretty cool kid, but we need to see more story telling. He suggested that I pick up one of the Marvel Character novels that they were selling at the time and to illustrate some of the scenes. He said he would look at them, if I would send them. I left the offices a little deflated, but still very hopeful of my future, after all, people had seen my work, I didn’t suck and I had actually spoke with the Editor at the top of the mountaintop.

It wasn’t long after New York that I found myself on a cross-country bus trip from Montreal all the way back to San Francisco. It was one of those moments you never forget, when I got off the bus downtown in San Fransisco. It was the smell, like fresh bread and cinnamon. I was home to the city I loved, in the state where I belonged.

I had arranged to stay at my friends parents house for a few months while I got my feet under me. While I was there, I took a class in typesetting on those old big machines, but the best part of that school was having access to the photostat machine. I used the heck out of that thing. I half-toned my entire portfolio so I could make good inexpensive photocopy portfolios to drop off.

I wish I could say it paid off, and I WALKED that town. I answered ads for art directors, I tried to get jobs drawing products for the store ads, nothing. Nothing clicked. Lots of talent but no actual experience, and by now I was out of my friends parents house and living in youth hostels while I was looking for a job. Several weeks went by and Kraft dinner and red cabbage with vinegar were my dinner plans. It was out of desperation and hunger that I finally got a job bussing and doing dishes at the most flamboyantly gay establishment in the whole of San Francisco, Church Street Station at Market and Castro. After a week, I was fed and I had some money, Life was good. It was about to get better. I was talking to this friend of a friend who was interested in sharing an apartment with me. I showed her some of my work and she suggested that I speak with the father of one her friends. He had a small sign company and hired young guys to do work sometime.

That suggestion changed the course of my life. I met with Bob, Bob Rubino. Bob was a well-built wirey Italian guy, in his late fifties. He looked at one of my drop off portfolios of photo-realistically illustrated store products and realized right off the bat that I could probably paint signs and billboards. He was right. He was a good teacher and showed me the set up, what paints to use, how to tie the rope on the block and tackle, how to rig a stage and how to throw it over the roof a building seven stories up and how to crawl out onto it. For some reason though, he never showed me how to use a safety harness. His method was the old Italian way, One hand holding a rope and the other hand holding a paint brush. I was young and stupid and didn’t die. Then something happened. Bob called me into his office to show me some new artwork that came in.

It was for some big murals to be painted in Los Angeles for the 1984 Olympics. Nike, with Chiat Day Advertising had decided to become an unofficial sponsor of the Olympics by painting Giant murals of famous athletes all over the city in choice spots. The artwork was amazing and I knew that I had to do them. I told Bob that I would move to LA to do them and that he wouldn’t have to pay for room or board. Bob agreed and I got the job. The Nike Murals went on to make the world news and garnered for Chiat Day and Nike several top advertising awards. It was a shining moment.

After that I painted a little mural in Vegas. It was two buildings with a wrap around space theme. The first building was ten stories tall and had a moon and stars. The second Building was twenty two stories tall and depicted a Earth type planet with a roulet wheel as a space station. I heard that these artworks actually were in the Guiness Book of World Records for a year as the worlds largest mural. I was 22 at the time.

After 3 months in the desert, it was time to ride my motorcycle back to Los Angeles and to my sweet girlfriend Linda. I ended up marrying her and now have two kids, but that’s jumping ahead. I got a job at Gannett Outdoor as a pictorial artist and I stayed there painting about 2 billboards per week for 18 months. Then another Nike Mural opportunity presented itself. It was a hard choice. Give up the good paying union job with benefits, or jump back on the wall? The deciding factor was that Inkjet technology was just then finding it’s way into the painted billboard supply chain. I guessed right that soon, most billboard pictorial artists would be out of work because of this new and cheaper method of doing billboards.

I painted the new Nike Mural, which depicted Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the help a several assistants and took one of them to be my apprentice for a year. Ramiro became my partner in our new company called Adrem Creative. We had a pretty good time for about five years and did many noteworthy projects. Things came to a choppy end and we parted ways. I needed a change, and decided to follow my boyhood dream of working in the comic book industry. I had been using Photoshop to aid in the design of my murals and was experimenting with coloring my comic work on the computer. It was at the San Diego comic con that I attracted my first customer in the comic realm and that was for digitally coloring the Creators Universe card set. What a goldmine that job was. Here I was, now coloring the work of the best illustrators in the business. What followed was fun. I started doing illustrations for many well know licenses and coloring comic projects for Image comics and Marvel. Linda and I were married by then and had our first kid.

Life was good. Six years later we had our second girl. Then because of corporate downsizing/mergers and no fault of her own, my wife was layed off from her good job with benefits. My Illustration career was somewhat stalled at the time because I was the parent at home, changing dypers , dropping and picking up at school. We needed to change things up. One of the dads, at one of our kids’ birthday parties suggested that I try storyboarding. That worked out pretty well. I ended up getting representation from one of the nations best storyboard groups; Famous Frames. 5 years later, I’m still going strong, and I love the work. In my spare time, I enjoy time with my family and work on my other art projects like sculpture and storybooks. That’s about it, that’s where I’m at right now. I hope you enjoy the work shown here on the web site.

Dave Larks 11/23/09