David completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Otago School of Art in 2006 going on to complete his Masters of Visual Art at Auckland University of Technology. David drew inspiration from the carved adzes at the Otago Museum. Through both print making and carving processes, he investigates how identity is shaped through genealogical inheritance. In particular he explores the role of Pi'a Atua, a term referring to those holding the office of priest and prophet. Their role as a living vessel was to provide vision, guidance and direction to the
David has employed his own set of motifs which create a language for his prints. The shape created when two circles overlap is what David refers to as the lens. Whatever is contained within each circle becomes interwoven within that intersecting space. This trope is used as a reflection of the evolving and merging of New Zealand multicultural society. Horizontal alignment of the lens resembles the Polynesian vaka, serving as a reminder of the constant journeying and navigation of life. The cross, which is used repetitively within David’s work, was developed to represent the concept of the Pi'a Atua. The term literally translates as “god box”. When a box is opened and laid out flat the cross shape is created. The use of patterns and motifs is drawn from the traditional Polynesian practices of carving and tattooing. The motifs etched onto the skin revealed a person’s history, tribal and social affiliations, religion, achievements, lineage and important events. The body could be thought of as a vessel, with the skin acting as a canvas, carrying the outward expression of internal things. The lens, the plane, and the cross act as representations of the human vessel, embodying the history, values and ideas that are etched in patterns onto their surface.
A motif common of David’s work is haka. In Haka Kaha All Blacks, 2009, the haka figure represents the mana and wairua of the Tangata whenua. The Haka evokes timeless values of strength, integrity and respect. It embodies the continuity between the old and new, calling this generation to rise and meet the challenges of today. Digital Haka, 2009 explores the timeless impact of the haka in our modern world of digital technology. The pixellated shapes evolved out of a study on genealogy, exploring the continuum created by interconnected generations through time.
David has exhibition in a number of group and solo exhibitions. David is represented by Toi O Tahuna Fine Art Gallery Queenstown, The Artists Room Dunedin, Harrison's Gallery Taraunga.