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Rockford.edu / News

Art with a hot-rod heart

12/05/2019 11:13 am

As a boy growing up, Associate Professor of Art Dave Menard was drawn to art. “It was all I ever did as a kid. I was never really good at anything else. I was always known as that kid in school who could draw.” It wasn’t until he got into high school that he started to get more serious about his creative drive. That is when he realized that his love for drawing was just the start of where his talents would take him, including his passion for printmaking.

“I equated printmaking with hot-rod culture, like when you’re into cars, it’s not really about the car; it’s about being in the garage, with the tools, the smells, and the sights and sounds. When I discovered this stuff, printmaking, it was very much the same thing you could get your clothes stained, and it had its own smell, its own vibe, and its own culture, its own kind of feel to being in the room where it happens.”

three guys standing in front of art work.
Pictured: Fatherless Print Posse members, David Menard (left), Javier Jimenez (center), Greg Lang (right). Not Pictured: Ben Rider

Dave’s passion and dedication to the art scene, in addition to obtaining his two art degrees, has not only paved a path for his 13 year career with the University, but has also led him to become a part of Fatherless: A Print Posse, a collaborative print posse with work derived from the results of five artists, who come from the United States and the United Kingdom. When speaking with Dave, it becomes wholly apparent how devoted and passionate he is about teaching. He takes great pride in passing on the knowledge he has gained through the unique experiences his artistic journey has provided him.

house at art fair in New York
Pictured: Fatherless print fort at the Moniker Art Fair in New York, 2019.

One of these experiences includes his most recent trip to the Moniker International Art Fair in May 2019 with Fatherless Print Posse in Manhattan’s NoHo district, New York. Moniker was founded in 2010 in London and is a hyper curated five-day contemporary art fair that exhibits an international roster of the finest artists and galleries at the cutting edge of urban art and culture.

Alongside these impressive artists, Fatherless showcased their prints in a house, also known as the print fort, which was constructed by Rockford University Theater major Tori Mays ’16. The house is made out of wood and has tiles that get printed on and screwed to it. The print fort not only helps to encapsulate the whole cultural esthetic but also allows them to live print out of it during the exhibitions. The print fort was used during their exhibition in New York as well as at the Rockford Art Museum in 2015.

Artwork by Rockford University Professor David Menard.

Artwork by Rockford University Professor David Menard.
Artwork by Rockford University Professor David Menard.

When it comes to having the chance to experience these opportunities, Dave says artistic inspiration is not the main motivation for his efforts. “Everything that is good that happened for me since I moved to Rockford is something that has resulted from physical work that has led to it. All of it has come from physically creating the next opportunity from the last opportunity, so if I wait for inspiration sometimes it’s a long wait. I just keep working through it.”

The value of hard work and determination is also something he stresses in his lectures with students. “I don’t see a ton of students, but the ones I do I care about, and I want them to generate work and I want them to be productive and smart. I’m really proud of the students and the work that I’ve been able to make here with these kids and the fact that I set my life up to where this is what I get to do every day. That definitely motivates me.”

To view additional artwork created by Dave, his students, and Fatherless visit his website at menardprint.com.