About the Artist
If you are a fan of the British rock band the Who, you’re probably familiar with David Arbus whether you know it or not. He delivered the searing violin coda to the song “Baba O’Riley” — popularly known as “Teenage Wasteland” — as a guest artist on the group’s 1971 album “Who’s Next.” Since then, Mr. Arbus, a native of Surrey, England, has continually reinvented himself: as a teacher, a model and a furniture maker. For the last decade, he has traded his violin bow for a drawing pen.
In the late 1960s and the ’70s, Mr. Arbus and some college friends performed as East of Eden, a progressive rock band that landed a recording contract, produced three albums and toured England and continental Europe, he said. After the group disbanded to pursue other projects, Mr. Arbus taught English in Saudi Arabia, where he started sketching buildings and developed a business designing Christmas cards for expatriates and Western companies based in the Middle East.
After two years Mr. Arbus returned to England and switched careers again, he said, spending the next 15 years designing and building rattan furniture. He also returned briefly to professional music with a stint in a British bluegrass band led by the banjo player Keith Pearson.
Richard Barons, the executive director of the historical society, invited Mr. Arbus to show his work at the Clinton Academy. The two met while Mr. Arbus was drawing inside the Osborn-Jackson House, an 18th-century building that contains the offices of the society. “He liked what I was doing and asked if I would like to have an exhibition sponsored by them,” Mr. Arbus recalled. For the next six months he set to work producing the 65 pieces currently on display.
Mr. Arbus favours architectural subjects because he likes structure. “It’s a personality thing,” he said. He sketches with soluble ink and uses water to blur the lines, he said. Sometimes he adds pastel or watercolour, a process that he called therapeutic. “To use colour is to do feeling and emotion,” he said. “For me, that’s difficult to express, so it’s probably good for me to do it. And in the spring and the fall, how can you not work in colour?” From New York Times 3 June 2007