If one has the opportunity or chance to watch the painter while he is in the act of creating his work, and see – or better, experience – the immediacy, vigor and enthusiasm with which he creates his paintings, then this simple expression, spontaneous realism, conveys a defining emotion. | VOKA


David Alston will never forget his first trip to visit Art Squared, an artist collective on the Independence Square.

The Kansas City artist was there to show his work to Marcia Pugh, the patriarch of Art Squared, 111 N. Main St., which opened its doors in December of 2016.

But he was missing a piece.

“He wasn’t missing it,” a grinning Pugh said, “someone saw it outside and bought it before David could even bring it in the door. His work is amazing, and David is an amazing individual. We are so happy and lucky to have him as a part of Art Squared and we know people who walk through our doors are going to be amazed by the vibrant colors and details of his work.”

The single father who is raising two boys at home now wants to dedicate a part of his life to art, after watching a YouTube video of international Austrian artist VOKA, whose “spontaneous realism” approach in the key that drives the artist to heights he never imagined possible.

“I’d done some things – some portraits, some animals, a few Kansas City Royals players – but once I saw the video of VOKA’s work I was blown away and knew I had to try it,” said Alston, whose VOKA inspired portraits of B.B. King, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Albert Einstein are displayed in the main windows at Art Squared.

“When I paint, using his style, I feel it – I mean, I actually feel what I am painting,” Alton said. “Does that make sense to you? I wish you could watch me paint something like the Hendrix or the Lennon. I turn on my music and it lifts me – and I just start painting and I love what the finished product looks like.

“When I started, I didn’t even know about spontaneous realism, and now, it is such an important part of my artistic life. When I put on my music and start this style of painting, I have tunnel vision. I block everything else out, and create something that I am very proud of.”

Although Alston would not mention his generosity, Pugh was quick to talk about his many charitable pursuits. When he heard about a young boy who wanted to swim with sea turtles, he contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation and asked for a photo of the boy.

“I then painted the youngster swimming with the sea turtles,” Alston said, in a hushed tone. “I will do anything for the kids, I love the children. I’m raising two boys at home, and I would do anything for them.”

One bright, mind-blowing painting of sea turtles can be found inside the Art Squared studio that features Alston’s art.

You feel as if you can reach out and pop the bubbles that escape from the swimming motion of the two massive turtles.

“Bubbles are a source of energy, and I wanted this painting to have lots of energy,” he said, as he pointed out some of the fine details of the work. “I’ll just splatter some paint here, and make sure I use a different color of paint here to try and give it a 3D quality.”

He hopes one day to paint spontaneous realism pieces like the man who inspired him.

“VOKA’s pieces might be 6 feet by 7 feet, and I would like to do pieces that size some day,” he explains. “And I hope that the sales of my work will give generate some extra finances for me and my boys. But even if that never happens, I will never give up painting.”



When he isn't in his home studio, David Alston can be found singing and performing at Tanner's in Kansas. Thursday night he is at Tanner's on College Boulevard, Friday on 119th Street and Saturday on Shawnee Mission Parkway. He often features his art during his karaoke performances.