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Published in Vogue, Town and Country, etc.
Fmr Disney animator (featured in: Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear)
BFA, fine arts, Rhode Island School of Design
Married to MaryEllen – 3 kids
FROM HARLEM TO DISNEY
David was raised by a single mother in Harlem in a six-story apartment building. Elevators and heat were luxuries they did not have. Falling asleep to the sound of gunshots was part of everyday living.
His mother, Caroline, did her best to keep him sheltered from the perils of living in the world of poverty, drugs and violence. She spent hours nurturing his education in their tiny kitchen and as a reward for his hard work, Caroline would take David to the newsstand every Saturday to get a comic book.
An “A” student, David was one of four kids chosen to receive a full scholarship from A Better Chance (ABC, for which Oprah is now the national spokesperson). The scholarship committee carefully chose the brightest kids with the most potential for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend their choice of four boarding schools. Some considered accepting the scholarship as a sell-out to their race but Caroline knew it was an answer to prayer.
With much prayer and sacrifice, Caroline sent her only child to Putney School in Vermont with such notables as the Kennedys and Newmans. From there, David received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. He met his wife MaryEllen in college, and they married some years later (MaryEllen’s father is a former governor of Rhode Island).
David began his artistic career working as a fashion illustrator for top fashion magazines. But while this was creatively and professionally satisfying, he knew he needed to do more to provide for his family.
His Disney search began with a dream. After his brother-in-law came back raving about a trip to Disney, a neighbor shared that he had a dream that David was working for Disney. He suggested David try out for Disney.
It was during this time that David and MaryEllen was searching for more meaning in life, though he grew up the church. Prayer became a big part of this journey.
At one point David had to pass the rigorous testing that was required, working in a medium that was not so familiar to him. Disney could have their pick of animators; he was competing against animators from around the world.
“Disney was scouring the planet,” David says, “Asia, Russia, etc.” At a pivotal time, David got to a point where he could not finish a painting. He quit, got on his knees to pray, then got up and had a cup of coffee. MaryEllen called and encouraged him in the Lord. Afterwards, his acrylic painting dried and matched perfectly. He got the job!
THE POWER OF MAJESTY
In 1996 David and MaryEllen moved to Florida to pursue his career with Disney, ending that connection in 2002 when the studio moved to LA. Wanting to keep their family in Florida, David joined Raven Moon studios for which he received the Golden Aurora Award for short film in 2004. Recently, David finished work on Curious George at Universal Studios.
When they were younger, sons Wesley and Brandon wanted to read Harry Potter. David wouldn’t allow it; he wanted them to get the biblical perspective on magic. David put pen to paper. He was fascinated that when he placed the magic in the hands of the villain, the story is appealing, but not the power of magic. His fantasy novel, Majesty: The Sorcerer and The Saint, came from David’s imagination and was brought to life while telling stories to his children at bedtime. MaryEllen encouraged him to write the stories down. The adventure is about two children who are swept into another world where the power of God and forces of magic have been at war since the beginning of time. Once the children learn the truth, they must choose sides. One child chooses God and the other chooses magic. At the center of this conflict is Majesty, the white horse of Christ’s return and a confrontation that changes the children’s lives forever.
The book, written for ages 10 and up, is likened to The Chronicles of Narnia. David says, “Majesty is a literary weapon for spiritual warfare. It’s designed to cut the deceptions of our time and reveal the truth by portraying sorcery and magic as a dangerous and destructive power.”
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