Meet wildlife artist, Dave Zimmerman

At work: Canadian wildlife artist, Dave Zimmerman

Born in the USA

Born in the USA, young Dave Zimmerman moved with his family to a small town in Eastern Alberta. He enjoyed comic books and drawing illustrations and went on to pursue an education in AutoCAD. But when it came to the second year, and the focus was mainly on the philosophical qualities of different fonts, he realized he needed an education that would lead to a more satisfying career. Philosophy and Theology was the route he took for undergrad and grad studies. Today, in his home town of Bragg Creek, AB (Canada), Dave combines his work as an inspiring pastor for his community with a satisfying and successful artistic career.

From illustrator to mixed-media artist

Exploring new media, Dave challenged himself to push his work beyond realism into semi-realistic and abstract impressions of the beautiful natural settings that surround him. And with great success! His work is included in many private collections, prestigious galleries throughout western Canada, and corporate collections from the Fairmont Château Lake Louise and other high-end hotels in the resort towns of the Rocky Mountains.

The message is in the materials

Zimmerman finds his inspiration not only in the beauty of the mountains but in the use of a variety of media. So much so, that the message within his art goes beyond the image he pictured. Yet it is found within the media he used. The use of gold and silver leaf with resin finish results in an ever-changing artwork. Impressions change, along with the light, and are difficult to hold on to. Like life itself, his art holds a message of letting go, enjoying each moment for what it is, and embracing the change.

Dave’s greatest challenge

A painting always starts with a rough sketch. It is this sketch that still connects to Dave’s old illustrator days. Then he adds his various media and starts to have fun with it. Building his artwork layer after layer. Until it reaches its final phase of adding layers of resin. Along with this last phase, comes his main challenge: mosquitos! Oh, and other long-legged insects, he adds. “When they land on my work when it is still wet, I find myself trying to remove their thin little legs from the resin. Sometimes, I am successful at it. But when they have landed on a part that is pristinely white and flat – and is meant to stay that way, it is a different matter. Once I am in the resin building stage of an artwork, there is no going back. No painting over. I have had to toss out paintings just because an insect landed in the wrong place.”

Chatty guy

As soon as you meet Dave Zimmerman, you’ll get a glimpse of one of his main traits, besides his artistic talents: he loves to chat! There is no need to counteract his solitary hours in his studio. Chatting and interacting with people comes naturally for this artist. He loves demonstrations, talking to his collectors, meeting neighbours, and fellow artists. He just loves to talk. And laugh! His big, infectious laugh reaches all the way from Bragg Creek, AB to Redwood City, CA, where I sit behind my laptop. This is a man who loves where he is in life. Life in the foothills with a loving family, great community and all the opportunity he could ever want to bring his artistic ambitions to life.

Life during a pandemic

We talk about what he would like to accomplish over the next year or so. Living at a time of a global pandemic, Dave sees a lot of hardship around him and he would love to make a difference in his community. Being able to add some joy and relief through his art would make him happy.

I can already picture a wonderful evening outdoors, with live music on the lawn, artists en-plain-air, paintings on trees, and with proper social distancing. I think we have an event to plan… Dave Zimmerman is the first one to raise his hand: “I’m in!”

More about Dave Zimmerman

For more information on Dave Zimmerman and his available works, kindly browse his profile (which will soon be up). Interested in a commissioned work? Reach out to our curator Bouwien Luppes, and she will put you in touch with him.