Nature Versus Nurture

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David Chapple and Luis Paredes: two landscape artists with two very different aesthetics. One is a former pro athlete with deep ties to California; the other is a globe-trotting photographer.

Section by Hannah Ostrow

David Chapple, Evening

David Chapple (DeRu’s Fine Arts)

Home base: Born in Palo Alto, Calif.; has lived in Southern California for more than 40 years

Background: Played football at University of California, Santa Barbara, and then professionally from 1969-1975 while pursuing his fine arts career on the sidelines

Media of choice: Oil paintings, etchings as well as bronze sculptures

Previously shown: Wisconsin, Maryland, Hawaii, Kentucky, Utah and Idaho, as well as Palm Springs and various parts of LA

Work: What’s so enthralling about David’s art, above all, is his technical mastery and creative fluency despite the roundabout path he took toward his career as an artist. He attributes his ease with depicting animals to the time he spent working as a taxidermist and his meticulous skill to a childhood affinity for ornithology books and drawing. People spend a lifetime molding themselves into artists, while David seems to have done it alongside his real life.

And then, of course, there’s the football, a profession whose implied disposition is hard to reconcile with that of an artist—and a figurative landscape painter at that. When David retired from the NFL in 1975, where did that punter go? Is this really the same guy, sitting behind a canvas, capturing a docile stream or a pastoral country road?

Despite his lack of formal training, or perhaps because of it, these canvases radiate the California native’s love of the landscape, shown here in all its impressionistic glory. Through oil depictions of local flora and fauna, as well as nature-oriented bronze sculptures, David captures the Golden State’s mystique.

His work will be on display at DeRu’s Fine Arts as part of the gallery’s December group show, “Delightful Glimpses.” (949-376-3785;


Luis Paredes (saltfineart)

Home base: El Salvadorian expat living in Copenhagen, Denmark

Background: Showed for the first time in a museum at age 26

Media of choice: Photography—most recently, time-lapse landscapes tinted black and white or color photo collages

Previously shown: El Salvador, Poland, Costa Rica, Lima (Peru), Munich, Rome, Paris, Washington, D.C., Cuba, Mexico City, Santiago (Chile), Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Venice (Italy), Sao Paolo, Scotland, Guatemala, Chicago and all over Denmark

Work: Luis specializes in producing haunting, hazy, disjointed time-lapse photo collages of forests on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark, where he now lives.

These are a far cry from what we might picture when we think “landscape”—they’re more nightmarish than bucolic, monotone forests awash in fiery oranges, isolating blues and frigid whites. The time-lapse technique toys with our ability to ground ourselves in this space, throwing us into a visual rabbit hole in which it’s impossible to find our footing. It’s like we’re living in a Robert Frost fever dream, with an infinite number of miles to go before we sleep and a conveyor belt for a forest floor.

Based on his portfolio, Luis found his dark, dreamlike aesthetic by age 22, toying with landscape as well as portraiture early on, venturing into the abstract and the geometric before finding his way to his current landscape series.

But as an El Salvadorian artist with ties to the rest of Latin America, as well as Eastern and Western Europe, Luis seems uncannily comfortable relating to the land of his adopted home. In fact, he seems to be most at ease appropriating the landscape for his artistic vision and translating it into his own piecemeal world—one frame, one moment at a time.

Don’t miss Luis Paredes at saltfineart, exhibiting alongside fellow El Salvadorian artist Amber Adela Rose in “Nature Human Nature,” which continues through Dec. 29. (949-715-5554;

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