David Southern grew up on a horse ranch in Colorado, where he discovered an early kinship towards nature. As a child, he raised fantails, roller, and trumpeter pigeons and dreamed of becoming the curator of a natural history museum when he grew up. It did not take long for young Southern to realize that he preferred nature alive and moving, and his early art career began by drawing the family’s chickens and the rooster who would sleep on his pet Dalmatian to keep its feet warm.
Eventually, Southern moved to San Francisco where he joined the San Francisco Police Department for the opportunity to help others. In his retirement, Southern has continued to pursue his career as an artist, creating work that is reminiscent of both nature and culture. The elements of his native Arapaho Indian heritage combined with a nostalgia of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and the early cinema of the 30’s and 40’s can be found in the artistic style of David Southern. He has been inspired by his travels to National Parks, such as the Grand Canyon, and his travels abroad to Paris, London, Madrid, and South Africa. These places have left their marks on his artistic palette, especially South Africa with its vast nature and rich cultural patterns.
Southern is also inspired by the everyday elements of nature that can be found closer to home; the songs of cicadas in the summertime, the seasonal migrations of birds, and the foliage of trees and the shadows they cast. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco often finds its way into the work of David Southern, though most of his subjects can be found blossoming in his own garden or bravely wandering into his studio. His favorite subjects tend to be living things that fly or bloom, such as the Hibiscus flower and the Comet Moths of Madagascar. Southern is also much inspired by his pet cats, and is currently working on a children’s book where his feline friends are given starring roles.