“Wandering in wonder is the first step to walking with wisdom.”
As with most journeys, my path to embracing a life of art, service and activism is a winding one…
My name is David Turner. I live with my wife, DeAnna, and my cat, Deuce, in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. I sign all of my art pieces with “D2”. It is an ode to my wife, DeAnna. It signifies how being a “Power of Two” has given us the ability to overcome obstacles and do what it takes to “figure it out,” each and every day all along the way on our 19-year journey together.
Upon graduating college, I was employed for 20 years as a successful businessman in the home fashion products industry. I was driven by my passion to climb the corporate ladder, until anxiety and depression overcame me, and I spiraled into a very dark place. I was feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless; the extreme isolationism made it difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning. It was at age 37, during this dark, tumultuous time, after several suicide attempts, that both art and cannabis came into my life.
I first began creating art through the Art Therapy Express (ATE) program at New Castle County Art Studio. I started as a participant at ATE, I then became a volunteer which led to an active role on many levels in the organization. I found purpose and meaning in my life through helping others create art. I proved to be an inspirational artist for the participants and created adaptive tools for people of all abilities so that everyone, regardless of the challenges they face, could participate independently.
At this time, I also began using cannabis. I was one of the first medical patients in Delaware. I found that this healing plant worked much better in treating my anxiety, depression and sleep issues than conventional prescription treatments. I became an activist for cannabis, attending many rallies and using my voice to educate others on the many healing properties of cannabis. I can recall attending the Americans for Safe Access rally in the Capital. It was a very emotional event for me, seeing so many supporters, and finally feeling that I wasn’t alone in my therapeutic use of cannabis.
My abstract representations signify my journey through, across, and beyond recovery from mental illness. Inspired by Vincent VanGogh and his life across the spectrum of mental illness, I draw additional inspiration from Picasso, Walt Disney, Callan Schaub, and Albert Einstein. My creativity started in pop-up gardens across my community. I was inspired to fashion beauty in abandoned lots throughout my neighborhood, creating whimsical displays from discarded materials. Over the last six years, I created 600 paintings displayed at the Delaware Art Museum, Hockessin Library, and the Delaware Disability Council’s building.
Cannabis has also been an incredible tool in my growth as an artist. Cannabis elevates your thinking. It allows me the ability to think outside the box and be more creative. Art and cannabis have been important tools in reclaiming my life. Through these tools, plus the support of my wife and friends, I was able to do the hard work to adapt to my new self. I want the world to know that it’s not just a bag of pot, it’s a transformational plant and culture.
My goal with the Cannabis on Canvas events is to bring a sense of community and acceptance to individuals using cannabis. You don’t have to be alone or stay in the cannabis closet. I want to help to normalize its’ usage. I also want people to experience the healing and therapy that creativity can bring. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, it’s not about the end product. It’s about expressing your creativity and allowing yourself to be in the moment.