David Bernie (Yankton Sioux — Ihanktonwan Dakota) sits quietly in the noisy coffee shop while motion flows around him — the rhythm of the patrons, the sounds of good hip hop, the sights of life being lived by everyday people. This is part of his inspiration, the chance to watch and feel how he can impact the world with his art. Art comes from personal experiences and the collective lives of those in his community.
David ventures from the independent coffee shop, out to find the creative space he needs. Out in the wilds of the streets, he searches for stories behind the imagery. Story is what connects people to David as the artist.
On the streets, in his backyard or in the studio, David finds inspiration that breeds his thoughts. From thoughts spring the visuals he brings to life.
A while back, David met a man out of gas in the parking lot of a stale-blue store. David himself was broke down. The man entertained him with a guitar and stories and five little dogs. The man was stuck fifty miles from where he needed to be. No phone. No one to call if he did have one, but he managed to raise David’s spirits. David bought him a full tank of gas. When he offered to pay it back someday, David told him to pay it forward. David’s reward was more inspiration for his art.
David’s art addresses the relationship between historical and contemporary issues of his people. He lives and breathes Native identity. It is time to dispel ignorance and stereotypes. It is his time.
In the end, David hopes each piece he’s created will have its own identity, that it will not be solely about the one who created it. That others will be inspired.