An Interview with David White, Alumni Artist

If you’ve never heard of him, David White (Tulane ’16) is a multimedia artist who feels strongly about his connection to New Orleans. I sat down with him to talk about his work, his path to success, and future plans.

Q: Where are you from? 

A: I am from Hanover, New Hampshire, which is the college town of Dartmouth. It’s a small town that has an economy that is very dependent on the college. I liked it there a lot growing up.

Q: So how did you end up at Tulane?

A:  I just threw it on my list of applications because it’s in New Orleans. I have always liked traveling and going to new places, so I wanted to go far away for college. Practically the moment I stepped onto the campus, it clicked in my head that I wanted to go here. I walked on A-quad from the streetcar on St. Charles, and I just started walking through campus and I see a bunch of cats and lizards roaming around. The campus is just totally beautiful; the whole city is beautiful. So I was convinced before I even took the tour.

Q: What got you into art? How did you transition from a business major to an artist who works at a brewery?

A: It was my Business TIDES class: I go into one of the fancy business school classrooms. The professor said that everyone had to dress in business formal attire. She said that the basis of the class was to build presentation skills. First week, this class taught me I did not want to be an undergrad business major. I don’t want to get too harsh, but I thought the opportunity cost of majoring in business was a liberal arts education.

So I ended up taking glassblowing and that is how I got into studio art. Gene Koss is the founder of the Tulane glass program, who inspired me to stay in glass, He said to me, “don’t forget the part of you, that is your right hand.” That really encouraged me to peruse glass blowing.

Q: What was the next step?

A: The property manager for my rental apartment told me he had a friend from college who is into glassblowing. This guy turned out to be Andrew Jackson Pollack. It took me about three months to link up with him. He’s a busy guy who gets a lot of contact about teaching and collaborations. Eventually, I met him, and upon introduction, he offered me a job to work on components of his art work. In exchange, he would teach me.

Q: So you graduated from Tulane, hooked up with Andrew. How did you end up working at Urban South brewery, in addition to all of these other endeavors you are involved in?

A: I got a job at Ellio’s wine warehouse, which is a friend of Tulane for sure. I was part time there, and I heard through the grapevine that Urban South was hiring—wasn’t even true. At the time I loved Holy Roler; great beer. So I went in, with my resume, told them I heard they were hiring, the woman at the bar told me they were not, but I still left my resume. And for two months, I went in, about once a week, or every other week, and asked if they were hiring. I got introduced to the packaging manager, because they said they would be hiring eventually. So I kept going in, showing my face, grabbing a beer. Eventually a position opened up, I got a text, and I went to work the next day.

Q: What do you for them?

A: At Urban South, I work in packaging; canning delicious beer, and helping to make the back-end of the brewery run well. After a couple months at the brewery, I was approached by the Vice President about helping make beer labels for a series of specialty beers. So now, I’m designing beer labels, which I’m super excited about.

Q: That’s amazing. What beers are you making labels for?

A: Basically, Urban South has a series of small batch beers that they put out each month. Very rapid fire small batches of adventurous beers with inventive flavors.

Q: Tell me about the Portculture art show that happens at Urban South?

A: Portculture is an art and music and culture collective. I’m involved because I reached out to them to help coordinate a really dope art market experience at the brewery. Two years ago, I collaborated with another artist. That artist happens to be one of the founders of Portculture. So that’s how I had this particular connection. That project was designing an album cover for an artist named Andy Devries, who is a Tulane grad as well.

Q: Is there anything you want people to know about Portculture?

A: The Portculture art show happens one Saturday a month at Urban South. We feature local artists and we have a DJ so it’s a really great gathering. I really encourage people to go and check it out, I think it’s really fun and in my opinion we have the best beer in New Orleans!

Q: Tell me more about your work with Andrew Jackson Pollack today? 

A: So here’s what you need to know: his studio is opening up on Magazine Street. The name is Pollack Glass Studio and Gallery and the address is 4132 Magazine Street. It will be a studio and a gallery that will showcase some of the best glasswork New Orleans has to offer. I will be working there teaching classes, helping out in the gallery, and showcasing my work too.