71-Year-Old Retiree Discovers Passion for Painting
With the opening of his new art store, David Schwartzman of Montreal proves that you can start something new & take up a cause at any age.
After spending 30 years in the insurance industry, David Schwartzman hasn’t exactly stayed idle since retiring. He’s discovered a new passion—painting, and it just so happens, he is really good at it, too.
“I enjoy painting as a way to express myself. When I am able to smile at my own work I feel I have achieved something. This, of course, is complimented by the comments of others,” stated Schwartzman.
Schwartzman’s later-in-life hobby initially grew out of a desire to document memories of his youth on his grandparents’ farm in Joliette, Quebec during the 1950s and 1960s since few photos existed at the time. He’s now made it a mission to also preserve other landmarks, buildings and important sites throughout Montreal with his uplifting, vibrant artwork.
“Paintings represent the feelings, the values and the emotions that transcend time. My art is a way of communicating the attachment and love for my home city,” explained Schwartzman.
According to a recent report, Montreal is the #3 city in the country for real estate investment prospects with new construction that continues to change the dynamic of Montreal’s central business districts and skyline. As a lifelong resident of the city, Schwartzman believes it’s vital to capture the city’s evolving landscape before a piece of it changes or no longer exists. While not blatantly obvious, his paintings also serve as a subtle statement directed toward the “powers that be” concerning overdevelopment of the city.
“I love the city, but I fear that so much beauty is being destroyed by developers,” stated Schwartzman. “It is vitally important that Montreal be saved from further wreckage by developers and their political supporters. I feel that my paintings call out for the preservation of our oldest but most beautiful housing, corner stores, curving outside stairways, etc.”
To date, Schwartzman has painted dozens of street scenes from his local neighborhood. These bright and colorful paintings depict the sense of community that he sees, as well as captures original buildings in an otherwise changing city.
“When I’m about to start a new painting, my most important thoughts are – ‘what does this subject say to me?’ and ‘what do I want to say to the public through my painting?’” explained the painter. “Many of my paintings have personalized, hidden messages as a homage to my family, such as my children's nicknames 'spray painted' on a building or a painting of my dog Chewy who recently passed.”
In an effort to reach an even larger audience, he recently opened his very first online art store through Etsy. Many of the folks who’ve contacted him through the platform are ex-Montrealers or those who enjoy the colourful and vibrant nature of his painted street scenes.
“I feel proud when my work is viewed, and I also feel encouraged that others see the beauty of guarding the heritage of my native city and hopefully their own neighborhood,” he said.
Schwartzman says he has no plans to put down his brush, canvas, and paint anytime soon. In some ways, the painter is just getting started. The more Montreal changes, the more his desire to paint grows.
“The best thing about Montreal as a source of artistic inspiration is that this will never end. However, we cannot become complacent and accept that buildings must be demolished for roadways, condominiums or due to neglect by their owners,” expressed Schwartzman.
Along with preserving Montreal’s history through his art and supporting slower development of the city, he hopes he also serves as a reminder to individuals that they are never too old to pick up a new passion or try something new.
“Nobody is too old to paint and everybody has something special to remember, to share, or to teach about,” he stated.