Artist David Shoemaker grew up in the scenic mountain town of West Jefferson, North Carolina. And it was in that pastoral mountain setting where he was first introduced to art and music by his parents. Shoemaker attended Milligan College in Tennessee before being drafted into the U.S. Army. Following a tour of duty in Viet Nam with the 4th Infantry Division, Shoemaker returned to North Carolina and attended Surry Community College. He credits Surry with providing the opportunity and encouragement to explore and expand his interest in the arts. Upon graduation, Shoemaker explored and painted with watercolors for many years. More recently, however, he has found his primary interest to be working with oils. Always continuing to develop his skills, Shoemaker has constantly challenged himself with each new endeavor until collectors of his work now expect his exceptional quality. But Shoemaker admits, “My true gratification comes from watching people enjoy the paintings I create.”

Along his life’s journey, Shoemaker began a series of paintings and poetry reflecting his own experiences of war. His “Viet Nam Subconscious Reality” series eventually developed into a collection which has been availalbe for display since 1995. Linda Burchette, Assistant Editor of the Jefferson Post described the moving exhibit this way. “Viewers of this exhibit will no doubt feel tremendously moved by the way the artist shares his experiences with those who could not imagine the pain and suffering experienced by soldiers both then and now. But the way it is presented, from a beginning of uncertainty and fear, through the emotional horror of the reality of the war, to the release of pain and grief at the end, is like a soul cleansing experience. A viewer will feel drained with a new appreciation for the sacrifice of the soldier and a fresh indignity for the brutality of mankind.”

Shoemaker’s studio in downtown Statesville, North Carolina serves as his retreat between participating in shows, working with private and corporate sectors on commissioned works and travel.The artist explains that traveling abroad allows him to study the works of other artists as inspiration for his own paintings and ponder the artistic process. Shoemaker elaborates, “Although my paintings are a reflection of many deep feelings, it’s a combination of creative process and passion that brings the ideas and colors together.