Dave Vescio’s journey is nothing short of extraordinary. From being a professional soldier to a drug dealer, and then an ex-con, he eventually transformed into a prominent Hollywood Movie Star. However, his evolution didn’t stop there; he further ventured into becoming an Award-Winning Contemporary Artist, pioneering his own unique art style that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Throughout his life, he has confronted darkness and death, but ultimately embraced the light and the essence of life itself. Despite attaining fame and success, Dave remains refreshingly down-to-earth and approachable. Engaging in a discussion with him about the profound aspects of life and art becomes an enlightening experience. Today, we bring you Part 1 of our Exclusive Interview with the one and only, Dave Vescio.
Before delving into this fascinating interview be sure to read:
After living such extraordinary, adventurous, and quite crazy life, why have you decided to become an artist? Is this something you always wanted to do or has this desire expressed itself unexpectedly?
I’ve been a professional artist of some sort since the 1990s. I went to a culinary art school and worked professionally as a line and pastry cook. Later on I studied TV broadcasting at Virginia Tech. In my junior year CBS News pulled me out of school to be a full-time TV photojournalist. I specialized in spot news, covering natural and man-made disasters. I then went to David Mamet’s acting conservatory in 2002 and worked professionally as a film/TV actor until 2018. Now, I’m an internationally recognized Award-Winning abstract photographer. My works are in private collections all over the world. So as you can see I’ve been working in all kinds of artistic mediums for over 25 years.
Honestly, my experiences with LSD at the age of 21 radically changed me. That’s when some part of my inner brain or a part of my soul just got totally woken up from these hallucinogenic experiences. That’s when I started to see why professional art is professional art. Since then I knew what I must do.
“My soul just got totally woken up”
Are you still living on the edge or perhaps you’ve settled down a bit?
Haha, living on the edge, well, I’ve always been a controversial artist. Three of my favorite films, that I acted in, are: “Hick”, “The Odd Way Home”, and “Wolf Mother.” They were some of the first movies ever that raised an important issue of child abuse by actually showing what sexual violence towards kids looks like. The reason we made those films was so that we could help raise awareness about such vicious crimes – crimes that everyone pretended didn’t happen here in the United States. I’m glad that the #MeToo movement finally exposed this national problem.
“I’m an artist trying to reveal to the world the things it refuses to see”
I acted in two of Paul McCarthy’s immersive video projects “Coach Stage Stage Coach” and “Donald and Daisy Duck Adventure.” Those films created so much controversy in the contemporary art world, that they are literally not allowed to be seen in full. Shoot, even my abstract photography is getting the same response because I’m blurring the lines between painting, sculpture, and photography! Most people can’t tell the difference when they first look at my artworks. I also photograph the most disgusting looking urban decay there is with my macro/close-up lens, like piss on trash cans, automobiles that have been abandoned on the side of the road, homes and buildings that were left behind to just rot away, etc. I do this because I want to show to the world that there are beautiful, supernatural lifeforms on these man-made objects at the micro level. A lot of people are saying that I am blurring the lines between high and low art by doing this. So to answer your question, YES, I’m still living on the edge. I’m an artist trying to reveal to the world the things it refuses to see.
Being a famous movie star, let alone a known villain who performed in over 45 films, changes you in many ways. How has it changed your art? Where do you think you would have been now, life and art-wise, if it wasn’t for your professional acting career?
I would say that acting got me to tap into the deepest, darkest pits of hell that resides in every single one of us. We just don’t let it out into the world even though we all sin and we would all love to sin in most gratuitous ways. Luckily we are also trained from birth that this is very wrong to do in real life, so I believe that is why people turn to art instead, to experience the thrills of these most violent actions without ever harming another soul or ourselves. We definitely create less sin in this world because of art. Art is actually our savior, our church, our educator. It’s a safe place to experience and learn about life.
“Acting got me to tap into the deepest, darkest pits of hell”
So where would I be without my professional acting career? Well, probably lost and confused in this world, trying to find meaning, like almost everyone else. Thanks to acting I found not only meaning in life but my calling – to push art to the outer boundaries and beyond! And if I create controversy over it – GOOD. It means I’m crossing the lines that our culture and society do not want crossed, for they’re all afraid to leave their predictable zones of comfort. I chose to venture out into the unknown and experience the world as it really is!
Would you recommend for an artist to take up acting and vice versa, and why?
I honestly believe every single artist should try out as many art mediums and genres as possible. Shoot, most of the great artists from the past did this. That’s where the term polymath comes from. So yes, explore everything in this world, until you find what you truly love to do, then explore even more!
What is your state of mind when you create your dark artworks? Are they made by Dave Vescio, the real person, or perhaps a Movie Villain that you embody?
As for my abstract macro/close-up photography, honestly, I feel like I’m an archaeologist and an anthropologist searching through death and decay until I find life again. And most times – it finds me! It’s calling out to me, to look at it, to study it, to photograph it, to tell its story by printing it onto materials similar to those it inhabits, and then to share this unique story with the world so others know that Life exist even in death and decay.
“Life exist even in death and decay“
It’s like a portal into another dimension, a spiritual world made up of human energy, where the Earth and the Sun’s energy sources like rain, wind, sand, dirt, light, cold, and heat are constantly tearing apart these man-made objects, slowly over time, decaying them away into nothingness. As this happens, out of chaos, spiritual, supernatural, and otherworldly lifeforms are being reborn, revealing themselves to me.
I’m just their messenger destined to reveal these mystical beings to the human world, to show them for what they truly are – spirits of Rebirth!
“I’m just a vessel for the universe to reveal itself to the world”
For some, art is a passion and an emotional outlet, for others, a hobby, or a source of income. What is art for you?
This is a quote that describes the day on which I was born: “An artist is an instrument through which the universe reveals itself.” That is 100% what art means to me. Fame, success, awards, press, and money are just the byproducts of all my work. At the end of the day I’m just a vessel for the universe to reveal itself to the world.
How does your artistic nature help you in life?
It gives me purpose and meaning. It helps me share this magnificent world in unusual storytelling ways to a large audience. An audience that, I hope, will one day change the world for the better and bring us all one millimeter closer to our creator.
“Most of my PTSD comes from covering man-made disasters”
You were a TV photojournalist for CBS News, specializing in natural and man-made disasters. What artistic lessons have you learned from this job? Is this a career path that you would recommend to other creative individuals?
There’s always a victim, a villain, a hero, and the bystanders. I discovered that telling their story with a television camera is a hell of a lot different than with a still camera, even though videography rules are based on photography rules which in turn are based on visual art (painting) rules. With still photography the audience member can be made into the victim, the villain, the hero, or even the bystander by just looking at the still photograph. With video it’s not quite the same.
I do not know if I would recommend this path to creative souls. Most of my PTSD comes from covering these man-made disasters. But, at the same time, trauma is a part of life, and these stories must be told, to hopefully create a better world. As long as you’re not just sharing one side of the story and demonizing the other side, it’s worth a try. Once again, you must show the whole story in its entirety and let the audience decide how they feel about it. That’s how we reported news back in my day, before it all turned into editorial and censored content.
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