It’s easy to come across a variety of things as you stroll the beaches of Newfoundland and Labrador – driftwood, seaweed, remnants of last night’s fire, rolling caplin. For most, particles strewn along the beach would fade into the background. But for Dave Loder pieces of the beach can become a canvass.
“I grew up in St. Anthony and my mother was always into painting and crafting so I think that is where some of my interest comes from. When I go to the beach I gather reclaimed and recycled materials. A lot of my paintings are either driftwood or pallet wood and on top of that I mostly use stuff I find on the beach,” said Loder.
Loder’s pieces are made from nearly anything – as long as the material is being reused and not purchased. One of his pieces Fishing for Love features a fisherman and three mermaids circling below his boat. The materials used to bring that piece to life includes an old shirt, a piece of raincoat as well as oilskins. He tries to incorporate as much as he can into a piece, without it appearing to be loaded down with materials, but rather to create depth through layers.
“I don’t want to buy anything manufactured specifically, I want to use stuff that I find around.”
The idea to reuse materials came one day when Loder was working on a headboard for his bed and by the time it was complete. he stood back and saw it in a different light.
“I said to myself, that has to go up on my wall and it ended up not being used as a headboard. It’s on my wall right now actually,” he said. “It’s a hammerhead shark, with a silhouette of a whale, and a sunset above the waves.”
Aside from the raw materials in his artwork, the actual paint found within Loder’s pieces is usually spray paint. He draws out what he envisions, cuts the drawing out, and creates a stencil.
“It’s kind of like real-life Photoshop but it’s analog instead of digital. There are still some different techniques you have to do to get it to look nice. It has all these layers. I am actually not a very good painter,” laughed Loder. “I find with spray paint there are a lot of techniques you can use that make it look good and that is a big part of my art.
Of course, spray painting is technically painting, and the artist is being the most modest when it comes to his abilities. Using layers and stencils to create unique repurposed pieces is Loder’s talent.
Loder is currently working on a piece of a woman’s face with long floating hair behind her, which is made of rope and driftwood – it’s been an ongoing piece for a couple of years- and it’s based on the Norse mythology story Sif and her Golden Hair. Another piece influenced by the Viking era is one Loder speaks of fondly and took him nearly a year to complete. Titled No Mercy from the Poet, the canvass features a profile of a Viking with a long beard of layered and rugged wood. The piece is based on the Viking saga of Aegle – an accomplished fighter who is also a poet. Loder’s love of this era comes from a time when he worked as a blacksmith apprentice at The Norstead Viking Village at L’Anse aux Meadow for a summer in high school and found a book about Viking stories there.
Loder spends his days in St. Anthony, his hometown that influences his artwork. Found on the tip of the island, he encourages those from all around to come for a visit.
“St. Anthony is a beautiful, beautiful place. The landscape is a lot different than central or Avalon. Once you get up so far, it’s like a different world with a lot of fjords and rock cliffs and it’s really rugged. Like a lot of my art, I try to keep that ruggedness – the wood is not heavily sanded for example. Everyone is so friendly, if a tourist came up here, it would probably be no trouble to find a party if they really wanted to.”
Check out Loder’s pieces on instagram @trash2treasure709