By: David Russell
From profiles to landscapes, animals to abstract, Parkland artist David Haley can’t stop winning art competitions with his unique and emotional painting style.
His talent has garnered several hundred followers on social media, dozens of commissions, and multiple first-place awards in national magazines.
The self-taught artist with humble beginnings now has 42 paintings featured throughout September in the Parkland Library, five of which have been national winners.
Born in St.Louis, Missouri, Haley entered the navy after completing undergrad at 23, where he had his first brush with painting. With no formal training, he drew inspiration from the portraits on the walls of the hospital he serviced, discovering his passion for art that would elude him for most of his career.
Classically trained as a healthcare administrator at UCLA, Haley has worked in every arm of a hospital imaginable. Throughout his seasoned career, he’d become the CEO of two major healthcare management companies, including Bethesda Maryland Hospital, known now as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where U.S. veterans seek treatment.
After finishing one of his inaugural paintings, a portrait of a soldier gazing off into the distance, Haley received the opportunity to feature his work on the walls of Walter Reed. He explained a surreal experience of seeing a woman staring at his art, unaware that he was the artist. “It’s good, but it’s so sad, ” she said before walking away.
“It was then I saw I could create emotion with my work, but I was busy with my career and raising three kids, so my art had to go on the back burner,” he said.
Having the opportunity to retire ten years ago, he was able to pick up the brush again and began painting every style he could imagine.
“I bought some canvases and brushes and saw what I could do,” said Haley.
In short, he has continuously been winning awards in national magazines, most recently for his work “Intrepid,” a study of a lighthouse in a violent ocean, which placed first in Artorful’s Nature 2022 competition.
Seeking warmer pastures in early 2020, Haley and two of his children moved to Cascata in Parkland, where he now lives near his grandchildren and private art studio.
“I’ll never forget my first sale. My wife and I were at the car wash when I went inside, and my wife stood by the car, cleaning the trunk. A passerby noticed one of my paintings in the trunk and offered $150 on the spot, which my wife gladly took. I was ecstatic, and it’s been an incredible ride ever since.” he said.
For those interested in following Haley’s work, see his work in person at the Parkland Library through September 2022.
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- A Coral Springs native, Florida State University graduate, and eternal optimist, David strives to find the local hidden gems in South Florida. He has a strong interest in technology, finance, and comedy.
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