Dave Archer

Immerse yourself in dazzling, intergalactic experiences through the entrancing art of Dave Archer. His paintings both honor and utilize science, with real inspirations and electric techniques. His art is inspired by astronomy, namely wondrous photos from the Hubble telescope of outer space.

Dave Archer uses a process he calls “art storms,” electrocuting acrylic and resin paint with a Tesla coil to produce lightning shocks of color. He then paints over the art storms to create miniature fantasy universes that are utterly awe-inspiring. His paintings have been featured in movies and shows like Star Trek, and now Marcus Ashley Gallery offers the opportunity to purchase them for your own collection.

Upcoming Events

Dave Archer Show ~ September 30th & October 1st ~ 2022

2022/09/30
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About Dave Archer

David Archer Nelson was born in San Luis Obispo, California, in 1941. After graduating from high school, he received a scholarship to study art at the California Watercolor School. Archer began painting under the name David Nelson in San Francisco during the Beat Generation when nonconformist artists and writers were all the rage. To fuel his passion, Archer also worked as a doorman at a coffeehouse between odd jobs.

In 1970, Archer was introduced to Ron Russell and the world of reverse glass painting. Together, they created the ‘reclusive’ painter Russell Archer—a combination of their middle names that allowed them to create art together. Their work was met with great success at festivals and exhibitions. In 1991, the duo came together again to showcase their evocative Russell Archer exhibit. The reunion was met with great enthusiasm and support by fans.

What kickstarted such a profound series of events between Ron Russell and Dave Archer was a meeting with Lee Bryd. He had been experimenting with electricity and built a Tesla coil of his own. This ‘sparked’ the artists’ imagination. They invited Bryd to perform experiments with their glass paintings. After several trials and failed attempts, the trio developed an art process that Archer relies on to this day.

Later, Archer required larger and finer Tesla coils to create his works. It was the late Mr. Bill Wysock (a Tesla coil engineer) who helped build and design Archer’s painting machines. Wysock is known for his notable work in creating special lighting effects for many Hollywood movies.

Archer’s method of painting involves using a handheld wand that generates a million volts of electrically charged arcs onto conductive water paints and glass. Much like a magician who’s about to perform a great magic trick, Archer’s process reveals what he calls ‘art storms’. Unreal, abstract cloudy forms appear on the glass that he develops by hand into comets, planets, and other celestial objects. Archer describes his work as ‘21st century, high-tech folk art’.

Now aged 81, the artist is mentoring his son Forrest to continue his work.

Questions Answered

I use a handheld wand to manipulate wet paints on the backside of a piece of clear glass using up to two million volts of radio-frequency electricity emitted from a Tesla coil. The “cosmic cloud” this produces inspires the placement of moons and planets, which I then paint by hand.
Acrylic resin: acrylic as a water-based paint that attracts high voltage electricity, and thick resin that bonds the acrylic to the glass.
In 1970 a serendipity came to pass. An artist friend had built a Tesla coil and mentioned to me one day, “You should try painting on glass with my coil.” So we did! Then we hobbled about the studio chanting, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
Nature and the Hubble telescope photographs are key. The most inspiring is the actual electric paintings themselves, as they offer up ideas for new works.

Yes. In Star Trek: The Next Generation (the TV show), plus two Star Trek movies, one being Generations.

My works can also be seen in Lucas Films’ Howard the Duck and many documentaries such as Eye to Eye with Connie Chung and the German doc, Lightning of the Gods

All paints are on the backside of the glass. Just wash with Windex, then polish with a dry paper towel.

Purchase a Dave Archer Original at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Dave Archer art is truly incomparable. He has an incredible ability to create depth and mystery with a medium as volatile as electricity, and it’s no wonder he’s achieved fame and recognition throughout his decades-long career. Dave Archer pours his passion for both art and science into his work, and his gift is evident in every unique piece.

Find Dave Archer Artwork at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Marcus Ashley Gallery’s range of gallery services is world-class. We offer the highest quality custom framing for any artwork you may purchase here as well as fully insured international shipping, financing options, and certificates of replacement value. If you live near our South Lake Tahoe gallery, we even offer private home shows and previews upon request. You’ll be able to see what a Dave Archer painting looks like in your own collection! Contact us with any questions.