Davidd Batalon can best be described as a cross between Thomas Hart Benton and Ray Bradbury. His paintings display a faithful attentiveness towards representation; yet, his images invoke a haunting psychological drama. He was influenced early on by Edward Hopper's use of light and by George Tooker's refined technique. "I was always attracted to rendering surfaces and giving a believable feel to environments. But I also became fascinated by Tooker's images because they were so mysterious and alluring." That plus Hopper's stark sense of alienation provided a foundation for Batalon to explore his own maturing style.
Born in Oceanside, CA, at the tail end of the baby boom, Batalon was raised in Orange County, a first generation Filipino American. He graduated from Cal State University, Fullerton, with an MA degree in Fine Arts, and as of 1988, he calls Los Angeles home.
Batalon loved to draw from an early age. His parents owned a gas station, so he spent much of his childhood there, using ballpoint pens to draw on restroom paper towels. To this day, ballpoint pens are his instrument of choice for sketching. "I like the "Blue Collar" significance that that instrument holds for me. You have Conte, you have Prisma-color, you have Windsor Newton, and then -- you have Bic!"
Batalon's paintings reflect the different stages of his life. "In my earlier paintings there is a feeling of suppression; I'm gay, but I was still in the closet at that time. In later works I can see myself loosening up as I started coming out more." Now, that undertone of tension and suppression has been replaced by a sensuousness mixed in with an implied eroticism. "I'm becoming more comfortable in my own skin in terms of what I choose to depict."
His current body of work continues to explore already established themes revolving around desire, love, and solitude. His paintings are enigmatic, mysterious; perhaps the bi-product of too many "Twilight Zone" reruns, but what he taps into is that peripheral margin where reality collides with imagination.
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