David Mackay

David Mackay

David Mackay is fascinated with the small but beautiful details that are so often overlooked by all of us as we rush on in our busy lives. His work has been likened to the Japanese tea ceremony, in which the simple process of preparing a cup of tea is formalised and focused on so that we can appreciate, enjoy and even revere the small details that most of us normally aren't even aware of.

David felt the need to draw and paint for as long as he could remember. Combined with the love of natural history, he continues to explore the natural world through his art, often focusing on the minutiae of life. Finding inspiration in the infinite small discoveries to be made in the otherwise familiar landscapes around us. Combining dashes of humour to the compositions, the paintings are windows to the secret world of nature, yet are modern interpretations of a time old tradition.

Born in Sydney, David spent much of his childhood and early adult life in Papua New Guinea. His professional career began at the age of 15, when he was commissioned to illustrate a book on New Guinea orchids during school holidays. He continued to work as an illustrator for some 20 years at the National Botanic Gardens of Papua New Guinea and the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. He has also worked as a guest artist at Kew Gardens in London, the University of California at Berkley and the Linnean Herbarium in London. In 1995 he left the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney - and a career in illustration - to explore the more creative side of natural-history art.

He completed a Bachelor of Science degree (biology major) at the University of Sydney, graduating with first class honours, and gained private tuition in art techniques from the accomplished wildlife/landscape artist, William T Cooper AO. A combination of art and science is intrinsic to David's work. A statement by the renaissance artist, Albrecht Dürer, resonates strongly with David: 'Be guided by nature' he said. 'Do not depart from it, thinking that you can do better yourself. You will be misguided, for truly art is hidden in nature and he who can draw it out possesses it'.


Links to articles, videos and blogs: 

Floor Talk excerpt from 'Fascinator' Exhibition