David Peniston

Love Is Idle Worship
10″x8″; collage; 2022

David Peniston
Oakland, California, USA


Nietzsche said,”We have art so that we shall not die of reality.” Creating art is an ongoing process. Daily life is my studio and the images I see and things I observe are my inspiration. I try to find something magical in seemingly random images to anyone else, making meaningful connections or metaphors of them. It is my love of irony, surrealism and the absurd that inspires me. I work on numerous projects simultaneously and carry with me, in my day to day life, the necessary ingredients like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be assembled together. Like Jason Robards in the film, A Thousand Clowns, in his tan suit and briefcase, but in mine, there are cut-up magazines, travel brochures, glue, scissors, rubber stamps and ink pads. A hodgepodge of inspiration, resources and influences. I’m very interested in the language of the subconscious. Dreams have a lexicon of their own and I try to be as tuned into that reality as much as possible. My collages and assemblages combine images and found objects to create the visual poetry of seductive dreams. Fernando Pessoa said, in his Book of Disquiet, “A state of mind is a landscape; that would have the advantage of containing not a lie of theory but the truth of a metaphor.”


David Peniston is a Bay Area artist who has had numerous one-man and group showings of his work throughout the Pacific Northwest, California and the Midwest. He is also a published poet and has had his poetry and prose published in a number of publications including the Berkeley Poet’s Cooperative; The Dan River Poetry Anthology; The Pacific Coast Journal, Cups; A Café Journal and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has won numerous prizes and awards for his paintings, collages and his poetry such as the Hyde Park Poetry League and the World of Poetry. His paintings and collages have won him First Place Award from the Artist Gallery in Oakland, California and First Prize from the Alsonzo/Sullivan Gallery in Seattle, Washington, among many others.

David also published the definitive interview with Dutch artist, cartoonist, graphic designer and architect, Joost Swarte in the Comics Journal, November 2006. The 28-page spread featured over 18 full-color reproductions of Swarte’s cartoons, posters and graphic designs, many from Peniston’s own private collection. David earned a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Painting from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, CA (now College of the Arts) in 1982, with additional graduate studies there from 1986-1987. He also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1983), the New York Studio School (New York, NY, 1981) and the Universita Per Straneri in Perugia, Italy, 1979.


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David Peniston’s World
diptych: 8″x10.75″ (each panel); collage with hand-coloring; 2021
Nod to Jimi
diptych: 8″x10.75″ (each panel); collage with hand-coloring; 2021
Heavy Metal Lover’s Dream
10.75″x8.875″; collage with hand-coloring; 2021
Cinderella’s Slipper
10.75″x8″; collage with hand-coloring; 2021