About David Bruce McLeod

b. 1984

David Bruce McLeod is a classically-trained, 21st century artist. His portrait pedigree follows from John Singer Sargent through John Johansen and Everett Raymond Kinstler to his personal mentor Michael Shane Neal. Like these mentors, his painterly portraiture lends itself 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. He chose Vanderbilt because it was in Nashville, Tennessee, and Nashville is where his mentor Michael Shane Neal lived. David studied under Neal’s mentorship for the four years he was working on his degrees at Vanderbilt. Upon graduating, he started painting portraits and creating personal work. In the two decades since his first commission, his work has only ever been as a full time artist and portrait painter.

It was during David's formative time at Vanderbilt that he 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. In the fall of 2016, they sold their home and bought a 50 acre farm south of Nashville in a small agrarian town. 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. These elements combine to form a life that is rooted to the land in the rhythm of the seasons. In the years since they've had another child and continued to improve their land in various ways. David and Blair are trying to do something old, and, in doing so, hope they can capture something true and beautiful today. This ideology permeates everything they do, from farming, to homesteading, to art.

The McLeods would be honored to have you visit the farm. And David would love to help you capture the people, places and things that are most important to you.

The McLeod farm 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.
2012 Oil Painters of America, Regional Exhibition in Bennington, VT. Human, Award of Excellence.
2012 Art Renewal Center. ARC 2011/12 Salon Finalist. Refraction”.
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.