Local Artist Check-in: David Murray

Posted on April 2, 2014 by


If you’ve visited Telegraph on the Downtown Mall to pick up some zines, prints, and other unique fare, or to browse colorful artists during a First Fridays walk while sipping on a cold PBR, you have probably seen David Murray.

David plays multiple roles as both part-owner of Telegraph Art and Gallery with his equally creative wife Kate as well as an artist creating comic books, t-shirts, screenprints, and more. With time living in Kyoto, Japan in college and a life-long interest in the comic world, David is now using his experiences to create his very own comics and to give Cville its very own zine and screen print niche through Telegraph.

Using his sense of humor as a paint brush and t-shirts as his canvas, David will be introducing his newest t-shirt line at Telegraph coming soon, and is excited about the First Fridays opening of EPIC ENCOUNTERS at Telegraph on April 4!

And don’t forget to attend the comic panel and screen printing workshop at Telegraph later this month as a part of the Tom Tom Festival!

david murrayDavid Murray

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not Cville, when did you come here?

I’m originally from Newport News, VA, and came to Charlottesville in 2000 to go to UVA, where I got a degree in Japanese Language and Literature. My wife and I met here and lived in New York and California for several years before coming back in late 2012.

When and why did you start making art? What mediums have you worked with, or particularly enjoy?

As my mom tells It, I’d always ask her to draw things for me as a kid, and one day pretty early on she passed me the pen and paper and encouraged me to give it a shot. I read a lot of comics growing up and constantly drew in the margins of my notebooks and drew short gags to make my friends laugh.

I started getting interested in screen printing after college as a way to put my dumb jokes onto t-shirts (which I still do at Seibei), and worked at a number of screen printing shops. I lived in Kyoto for a year during college and studied wood block printing, and I’ve also done some painting, sculpture, and resin casting.

Most influential artist as a child? Teen? Adult?

I don’t know if there was one specific artist I admired as a kid – I read a lot of Spiderman and Fantastic Four and loved it all. Maybe Todd McFarlane? As a teen, The State had a huge impact on me and my sense of humor, and I had just started getting into anime, like Vampire Hunter D and AKIRA.

I still love this stuff as an adult, of course, but I think the biggest influence on me and my work these days is Parra – he has a great sense of humor and is so skilled at quickly and efficiently expressing that through his work. He has a cartoonist’s eye for what details are necessary and which aren’t.

shirt 1What aspects of life excite you, stir your affections, fuel your passions, inspire your art?

I’m friends with a lot of amazing artists (and have met even more in my work with Telegraph), and through keeping up with them I see all the amazing work they’re doing and it inspires me to keep going and making more things. I also am married to a really cool lady (Kate, we run Telegraph together), have a supportive family, and am surrounded by great people.

What message(s) do you convey through your art? What do you want people to take from seeing your art?

I just want to make people happy; my t-shirts are essentially one panel comic jokes. Making people laugh is my favorite thing, and I think I have a unique sense of humor.

shirt 2What does a day in the life of an artist look like from your perspective?

I am at Telegraph most days, and am behind the counter either working on Telegraph work, Seibei work, or goofing around on Twitter. There’s more business administration than art in what I do most days, but that’s what I get for being an owner of two businesses and trying to fit in some freelance work and fun projects.

What makes Cville special for artists of all forms?

Charlottesville has a laid back, small town feel with a lot of the advantages of a proper city.

Favorite place in Cville to… be creative?


Favorite place in Cville to… see art?

Telegraph’s okay. The one bummer of running it is that I almost never get to make it to other First Friday openings.

Favorite place in Cville to… grab a bite?

There’s so much good food downtown, but I am at Market Street Market probably 90% of the time. Song Song’s Zhou and Bing is terrific; I love restaurants that execute a short menu perfectly.

Favorite place in Cville to… get a drink?

Champion Brewery or Whiskey Jar

Any other Cville favorites?

Splendora’s and Melody Supreme

What does the not-so-distant future hold for you and your art?

I’m working on a bunch of collaborative tees with comic artist buds of mine, including some bigger names that I can’t announce yet. I’m also working on a new batch of tees and am trying to finish my first proper comic book in time for the Toronto Comic Art Festival (TCAF) in May.

What should we look forward to at Telegraph this month as a part of your collaboration with the Tom Tom Festival?

The live screen printing is always a good time, and the comics panel is a great excuse to get in some of our out-of-town friends to chitchat about comics.

Lastly… Describe yourself in 10 syllables.

World famous t-shirt artist, big baby