Master Artist: David W. M. Cassidy


David W. M. Cassidy grew up in Compton and Los Angeles California. Graduated from George Washington (now Preparatory) High School in 1973. He received a B. A. in Urban and Rural Studies, University of California, San Diego, Third College, 1978. He served in the United States Navy as a Hospitalman (HM2), Field Medical Tech, X-Ray Tech, and Emergency Medical Tech. A graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), C.H. Mason Seminary, 1990 graduated with honors and received the Master of Divinity degree. 

Rev. Dave was licensed in 1982, and ordained in 1990 by Bishop George Dallas McKinney Jr., Southern California 2nd Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, of the Church of God in Christ. 

David W. M. Cassidy is a published writer, a published artist. He is a self-taught artist who has had no formal artistic education post high school.  His medium of choice is oil painting. He is known for a cubist abstractionist style, the boldness of expression and attention to details of color and composition in his paintings. His artwork is owned by over 60 collectors through the United States and Africa. Author of, The Art of My Life,, and he has designed artwork for United Methodist Publishing House VBS projects; African Methodist Episcopal Church Devotionals, book covers, etc. 

David W. M. Cassidy lives in Upper Marlboro, MD and is married to Rev. Lillian Catherine Smith, Pastor of Cheverly United Methodist Church, Cheverly, MD. He and Lillian have two sons, David Charles Jasper Smith-Cassidy and Hayward Felton Earl Smith-Cassidy. 

Artist Statement

 What I do artistically is part of what I believe can be classified as a distinct genre in art, African American art. It is distinct because it comes out of a particular (although not monolithic) shared historical and sociopolitical reality, one that is unique to African Americans. This art cannot be totally divorced from what is known, as a broad category of art, African art. African art cannot be reduced to a monolithic category that can be easily separated from its expression in diaspora. 

Distinctions in the use of color, subject matter, the voice of the art (how the art speaks and what it says), and materials used may distinguish African art from African American art, from African Caribbean, African Haitian, or African Brazilian, etc. Even so, the rhythm of the art and the cadence of the beat will flow with a certain familiarity that is purely African in flavor and therefore unmistakable. This is truer (I believe) of folk artist than it is of the academically trained artist. Especially when the trained artist foolishly allows “a prefabricated technique,” or European artistic imperialism, to construct and dominate their work rather than natural creative curiosity within. 

Art that comes out of the spirit and soul of the artist is far more useful than that which is merely the technical manipulation of substances. African American art can therefore be copied technologically, but it cannot be fully reproduced outside of the womb of soul and psyche of those who have been “gifted” existentially with the call to speak with that artistic voice. 

African American art is not a mono-vocalization, but the voices of many waters fed by many tributaries of experiences. Empathic/emotional, I like to paint what I can feel. If I don’t feel it, I can’t paint it. I must be moved emotively before I can create artistically. It’s a heart thing, then a head thing, then a hand thing. 

So, my art is often complex, and I use a technique I call ghosting. You can see more than one image intersecting and bleeding through others. I love the intersecting of colors and my backgrounds contain the colors used in all parts of my canvas.

I am now trying to tell a story with my art, send a message through my art. I want you to spend time with my artwork. You must follow or read between the lines.