David Abse was born in London in December 1958. Despite being born in England, David never has felt that this defines his identity. His father (Dannie Abse) brainwashed him to support Cardiff City FC, and told his son that he was half Welsh, and half Jewish, and half English. David realised early on his father's mathematical shortcomings and was glad that his father had chosen a career as a poet rather than as a quantum physicist. David's mother (Joan Abse) was from Lancashire (St Helens) and her parents were English and Scottish. She moved to London as a young woman where she met David's dad, Dannie. After bringing up three kids, she became a renowned art historian. David's maternal grandfather (Jack Mercer) had a profound effect on David's life: He worked as a shop steward for years in the Pilkingtons' glassworks in St Helens, but after he retired he went to art school every day for 30 years. He died over 20 years ago, aged 99, still a communist, determined not to get a telegram from the queen.
Despite David's father's determination that David should get a "proper job", David went to Art school in Wolverhampton, and then worked for many years in the voluntary sector in the UK - including several years as a union representative..
Twelve years ago David moved to France, and returned to painting, drawing and printmaking full time. Plus a bit of writing. David used to write for L’Artiste magazine before it went bust (not his fault!) and writes a fascinating blog (when he can get round to it!).
David now lives with his family and cats and dog in a small house in the beautiful village of Bize-Minervois in the Aude. He still thinks of himself as half English, half Welsh, half Jewish and as a Londoner too. Oh yes, and a lot French. It is no surprise then that many of David's paintings focus on issues of identity.
David unfortunately puts up with various disabilities, including suffering from Parsonage Turner syndrome, an obscure incurable auto-immune disease. As a result his style has changed in recent times, and he has more recently been concentrating on producing smaller oil paintings rather than the large expressive abstracts he produced for many years.
My project is ongoing portraits of revolutionary and anarchist icons, that so far have included a very diverse group of people: Bill Hayward from the Wobblies, Sacco and Vanzetti, Trotsky, Simon Bolivar, Martin Luther King, Emma Goldman, Rosa Luxemburg, Mohammed Ali, Huey P Newton, Franz Fanon, Emilio Zapata, Pancho Villa, Anacharsis Snoot, Bakunin, Garibaldi, Proudhon, Earl Browder and I am currently working on a portrait of Buenaventura Durruti. Drawings of others are also intended to be included. A group of portraits - mostly framed - of unconventional and untraditional heroes in a hotel room would provide an unusual and interesting environment. I would continue to work on the project, in the room, particularly focussing on Italian revolutionary icons.