About David Bruce McLeod

b. 1984

David Bruce McLeod is a classically trained portrait painter and materials artist. While he is well-known for his traditional portraits in oil, he also works in various media, recently working in oil paint on tempered glass. He loves the chance to work with clients on commissions in oil and charcoal with subjects ranging from landscapes to portraits. His personal work is collected by contacting the studio.
David's portrait pedigree follows from John Singer Sargent through John Johansen and Everett Raymond Kinstler to his personal mentor Michael Shane Neal. Like these mentors, David's painterly approach lends the work a lively feel, allowing him to portray his subjects with the greatest dignity and honesty. Thousands of brushstrokes animate the figure and enliven the features. He believes a work of art is about far more than capturing a likeness, so he pursues in earnest the nuanced depth of emotion in each subject.

David is somewhat of an oddity in the art world. Following valedictorian honors at his high school he received a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with two degrees, one in engineering and the other in art. But truth be told he chose Vanderbilt because it was in Nashville, Tennessee, and Nashville is where his mentor Michael Shane Neal lives. David studied under Michael Shane Neal’s mentorship for the four years he was working on his degrees at Vanderbilt. This chapter was the period in time when he developed his technique and cemented his lasting love for creating art. Upon his graduation the decision for him was simple. He decided to forgo an immediately lucrative career in engineering to pursue this lifelong love and passion for creating beautiful art. This decision has continued to play itself out in David’s career. While portraiture has been the most prominent feature of his career, he has always devoted time to his personal work. Time spent writing, sketching, and completing complex works for galleries has kept him inspired and his work fresh.

On a more personal note, it was also during his formative time at Vanderbilt that David met his beautiful wife Blair. After three kids, a decade of marriage, and a growing life in downtown Nashville, they decided to get away from the pressure and unnecessary noise of modern digital life. So in the fall of 2016 they sold their home and bought a 53 acre farm south of Nashville. In some sense the farm has been an earthen blank canvas. David and Blair have taken the time to invest in and love on their kids, build their home, and refresh their souls. The farm has an open field, a wooded hill, a cool, clear creek, and perhaps most importantly—a home with a well-intentioned art studio. With a lifelong love for capturing beauty and a fresh renewal born in the wisdom of time, David hopes his work will be sincerely loved by those who choose to receive it. The art of David Bruce McLeod is ready help you capture the things and people that are most important to you.
View from the studio at sunset.
Selected Press & Awards
2017 Portrait Society of America. International Portrait Competition. Exceptional Merit, Untitled Hologram of Time.
2017 WhiteHot Magazine. Donald Kuspit on Contemporary Physiognomists.
2017 American Art Collector. Human Psyche feature.
2017 Arrested Motion. Previews: Psychological Realism at Booth Gallery.
2015 Portrait Society of America. Members Only Competition. 8th place, Autonomy and Intimacy.
2013 Strokes of Genius 6: The Best of Drawing. Beneath It All.
2012 Oil Painters of America, Regional Exhibition in Bennington, VT. Human, Award of Excellence.
2012 Art Renewal Center. ARC 2011/12 Salon Finalist. Refraction”.
2012 American Artist Magazine. The Portrait: a full-length documentary. Featured in American Artist Magazine’s online publication.
2011 American Impressionist Society, 12th Annual Exhibition in Carmel, CA. Reticence, finalist.
2010 Portrait Society of America, Member’s Only Competition. Blair, 2nd Place.
2010 Southwest Art Magazine. 21 Under 31: Top Emerging Artists 2010 Nashville Scene. Best Visual Artist.

"All these works suggest the power of the internal over the external—of the unconscious over the conscious—but nowhere is its power more evident than in David McLeod’s Untitled Hologram of Time, 2016 and Portrait of a Spinning Man, 2015. McLeod’s portrait literally spins—it’s attached to a device that makes it spin and quiver—suggesting the power of the unconscious to make one’s head spin. In the hologram his face fragments as it moves through time, suggesting the power of the unconscious to fragment the self."

- Donald Kuspit, Whitehot Magazine, 2017

Curriculum Vitae
2017 Paintguide NYC. Group show. Booth Gallery, New York, NY.
2017 Psychological Realism. Group show. Booth Gallery, New York, NY.
2016 UBIQUITY. Solo show with 10 works in oil on glass. Woodlawn, Alabama.
2016 Portraits, Inc.: Portraits and Florals. An exhibition of portraits and still lifes. Birmingham, Alabama and New York, New York.
2014 The Art of the Portrait. Haynes Galleries. Thomaston, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee.
2003-2007. Vanderbilt University. Bachelors of Arts (Studio Art), Bachelors of Science (Engineering Science). Graduated with honors (magna cum laude).
2003-2007. Apprenticeship with artist Michael Shane Neal.