A vanguard of the developing Los Angeles art scene in the 1970s and 80s, David Amico was born in Rochester, New York in 1951. He attended Hunter College in New York before earning his BFA from California State University, Fullerton. In 1976 he had his first show at P.S. 1 in New York. Soon after, Amico moved cross-country into a 9000 square foot space in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, where loft space was both plentiful and cheap. He used the space to host exhibitions and performances for emerging artists of the time, including T-Bone Burnett and an exhibition of Amico’s own work accompanied by a sixty-four-piece orchestra. As his notoriety as a downtown painter grew, Amico’s work was featured in several prominent exhibitions including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s first show in 1983 and the Newport Harbor Art Museum’s first biennial in 1984. He currently lives in Los Angeles and holds a position as an Associate Professor of Art at Claremont Graduate University.
Amico’s paintings often look to the artist’s own downtown surroundings, reimagining the harsh urban environment with profound delicacy and grace. Addressing this unique interpretation he stated, “It’s always been part of what fascinated me about living downtown. We’re living in the middle of the city (with)... all the paraphernalia, clothes being hauled out onto the docks, goods and services, all of that stuff. There’s an industrial edge, patterns off of material and stuff.” Since the early 80s, his style has evolved from dramatic sketch- life figurative paintings to more abstracted works with a greater emphasis on organic form. However throughout his career, Amico has maintained his unique talent to integrate and transform the harsh realities of urban life into amazingly lyrical compositions.