David Boatwright’s “Grits Are Good For You” mural at the former Hominy Grill building on Rutledge Avenue
The artist in his third-floor Morris Street home studio, where he’s been painting with a fervor this spring. His May exhibit will include a dozen or more works, many that he hasn’t previously shown.
A truly creative spirit, Boatwright has made documentary films and TV commercials, plays in a band, and paints everything from public murals and signage to fine art. “Mostly, I’m a painter,” he says.
His house also functions as a gallery. At right, his painting America, Good Luck (acrylic on canvas, 6 x 9 feet, 2018)
Artworks, both complete and in progress, are stacked or tacked to the walls. “He’s made such a mark in Charleston; he’s part of our arts heritage,” says Brooks Reitz, co-owner of Leon’s, Little Jack’s, and Melfi’s restaurants that are home to several Boatwright murals and paintings.
Boatwright plays drums and other percussion instruments in the band Minimum Wage; at his kit in front of Plowed Under, (acrylic on canvas, 11 x 6 feet, 2019) which he painted during a residency at the Gibbes Museum of Art.
Whole Can of Worms (acrylic on canvas, 40 x 60 inches, 2020)
The artist completes a new self-portrait every year. (Above) Geezer Dreams (hand-colored silkscreen, 17 x 23 inches, 2015) harkens back to Raymond Chandler novels and “dips into my subconscious nostalgia,” says the artist.
Painting the Town: A handful of Boatwright’s 30-plus murals around Charleston and the Lowcountry: Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar (Cumberland Street)
Palmetto Brewery (Huger Street)
GrowFood Carolina (Morrison Drive)
Look Away, Look Here, two panels on plywood from his 2012 exhibition that are currently on East Bay Street.
The former Mira Winery (Queen Street)
A private residence in Goose Creek
Hank’s Seafood (Hayne Street)
Xiao Bao Biscuit (Spring Street)
The Alley (Columbus Street)
Taco Boy (Huger Street)
Mixson Market, North Charleston
Boatwright says that unlike murals, which require much advance planning, his studio works (all acrylic on canvas or panel) “begin from a fragment of an idea—an image, a thought, or a starting point—that goes through multiple phases with images added and discarded as it seeks to find its authentic identity and takes me, and potentially the viewer, to a thought-provoking place.” - She’s Crazy Bout a Mercury (36 x 58 inches, 2021)
APOLLO (36 x 74 inches, 2021)
Miss Folly Beach Astride 2 Gators (8 x 9 feet, 2014)
Six Dollars (6 x 9 feet, 2013)
Down at the Crossroads (48 x 72 inches, 2017)
Trick Rider (48 x 84 inches, 2015)
American Aphrodite (38 x 60 inches, 2021)
Dancing With Foxy Brown (48 x 60 inches, 2013)
Tiny Tango (acrylic on canvas, 46 x 78 inches, 2005)
Cuban Gator Gal
I Ain’t Know
The prolific painter will unveil his first comprehensive exhibition of small pieces in more than a decade this month