David Sandlin was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1956, and has lived in the United States since 1972. He has been painting, printmaking, and creating installations professionally since moving to New York City in 1980. He is also a teacher at the School of Visual Arts. His paintings, prints, books, and installations have been exhibited extensively in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Australia. His work has also been published in the Best American Comics 2012 and 2009, New Yorker, New York Times, RAW, and other publications.
A recipient of a 2014 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Sandlin has also received numerous grants and honors, including a fellowship with New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and the Lamar Dodd Chair of Art at the University of Georgia. He has also received awards from the Penny McCall Foundation, the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and other institutions.
Since he began his professional career as an artist in the 1980s, visual narrative, usually nonlinear, has been a core component of Sandlin’s work. He uses it as a structural device to build content and express ideas while experimenting with form. This focus on narrative has led him, as a printmaker and painter, to make a lot of books, including his seven-volume series A Sinner’s Progress, recently acquired by the Library of Congress.
Currently, David Sandlin’s projects include Belfaust, a graphic novel, and 76 Manifestations of American Destiny, a cycle of prints and paintings depicting the American pantheon—both historical characters and events and those in the realm of legend. The new series of works will represent American heroes and villains of fact and fiction and iconic occurrences and folktales in a fresh context. “I do believe America is fast moving beyond the models it has followed for the past three hundred years, and these ghosts of history will eventually be put to rest. In some cases this may be a sad thing, but overall it won’t be a bad thing,” says Sandlin.