Dave Stone studied art at Olivet University in Illinois and earned his BA degree in Fine Arts from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. While serving in the US Air Force, he worked as a technical illustrator and taught art classes. For 20 years he served as President and CEO of Atlanta Visual Merchandising. He has called the mountains of NC home for nearly 25 years and has devoted his time fully to his art since his retirement in 2002.
Until recent years, his sole focus was on painting, both acrylic, and mixed media. His works range from traditional landscapes expressing the beauty of nature to more contemporary works on a wide variety of subjects. He sometimes incorporates photography and “found objects” such as feathers and tree branches in his art. Occasionally, a subject will capture his interest so completely that he will do a series of works on that particular subject. His Freedom Series highlighted the passion of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others in the struggle for personal freedom. Another series celebrated Western North Carolina’s Cherokee heritage. In addition, many of his works are expressions of his strong faith.
In 2014, Dave’s world was shaken when he was diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia. Many months later when the initial shock wore off and feelings of despair and hopelessness receded, Dave resolved to live life to the fullest and to focus not on what was lost, but rather on what remained. As a result, with the encouragement of his doctor and his family, he decided to try a completely new art form, pottery. Three years later, he is creating clay art with great dedication and enthusiasm. There is an increasing body of research supporting the idea that art and music have a significant trans-formative effect on people living with dementia. Dave is a testament to the accuracy of that premise.
Many of his clay sculptures are created from broken and imperfect pieces, the result of unsuccessful firings. Where others see brokenness, Dave sees the potential. That perspective also epitomizes Dave’s life situation; out of brokenness, beauty can emerge. In spite of, or maybe because of, his diagnosis, he has immersed himself in his pottery and painting with increased passion. These days Dave doesn’t just think outside the box. For him, there simply is no box.
His art has been exhibited in Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina and many places in Western North Carolina. It has been featured in various publications, including The Laurel of Asheville and the Asheville Citizens Times. Currently, his clay creations can be seen at Stonehouse Pottery in Balsam, NC.