Kansas City, MO
Though primarily known as a painter, David Ford’s work covers a range of disciplines and cultures. His work exemplifies an approach of culling and combining images and information from a variety of sources, always keenly aware of the context from which they are derived and the meaning they carry. With no formal training, he paints in reaction to outside forces – social, political, philosophical. His work confronts and challenges the viewers who must ask and answer their own questions.
For twenty years, Ford studied traditional art and medicines. For five years he spent most of each year in the Mayan region of Mexico and found its Meso-American culture a continuum of this approach to art. His living sculpture performance piece Maximom celebrates San Simon, the patron saint of bad habits, and the Mayan counterpart, Maximom, a piece that extends over a five-day period. During the first four days, the throne holding the actor/saint is carried to bars, strip clubs, coffeehouses and private events. On the fifth day a long evening celebration takes place at San Simon’s/Maximom’s shrine. Thus hundreds of people pay homage to these spirits, exchanging one’s bad habits for redemption. Maximom has become an annual tradition in Kansas City.
David Ford received a Charlotte Street Fund grant in 2001. In May 2004, a 20-year retrospective of his work was presented at the Gallery HQ in Kansas City. Ford has exhibited his art and lectured extensively within the United States and internationally.
This bio/description was originally published in 2004 and updated in 2013. For more current information, please refer to the award recipient's website (if provided).