David Castleberry had already built an impressive resume’ by the time he became Professor of Art at age 23, the youngest to hold that position at San Jose State University, in San Jose, Calif. His solo exhibits in museums and prestigious galleries criss-crossed the nation from Pennsylvania and Florida to the western states of Colorado, Washington, Utah, Idaho and California. He expanded his woodworking skills from his family heritage; refined fabric making and design, including weaving; and showcased his abstract expression in oil painting. His latest and very successful endeavor of recreating the many varieties of sea life has become a favorite at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend.

He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, his BA from San Diego University, San Diego, Calif. and AA from Mesa College in San Diego, Calif. Always in service to his community of art wherever he resided, Castleberry has served in positions which have promoted and fostered the arts.

He came to Oregon, specifically Charleston, to care for his aging father and mother, and to continue and expand his gift of oil painting. His paintings are recognized for their brilliant splashes of swirls, dots, lines, and intense bursts of color leading the eye of the beholder through the painting and to the feeling of resolution and upliftment. He does this by using the dark areas to bring forward the light. He says he "hopes his paintings evoke a conversation with the viewer which resemble the human condition of working through the times in our lives when things seem out of control, and by changing our perspective, we bring in the light." The cheerful, exuberant persona of Mr. Castleberry is an exhibit of that belief as well. “Life is messy, as well as splashy,” he quips.

When you Google “David Castleberry’s Art Gallery of Oil Paintings” your eyes take you into a land of splendor and visual delight. The “Hearts and Fire” segment of his website is especially captivating, exciting and soothing the senses at the same time, with unvoiced stories of one’s own emotions revealed through both light and darkness there. His official web address is https://www.dcastleberry.com.

Thirteen years ago when Southwest Oregon Regional Airport’s new building was constructed, resembling the shape of a large fish, David was asked to display on the walls a few of his colorful sea dwellers fashioned out of Masonite to carry out the building’s thematic design. Since that time both the entry of the airport and the arrival and departure areas display over 85 items in large schools of his creatures of the sea. It has been said it is like walking into a fishbowl when departing or arriving from your flight. Each one is different in size, painted in a refulgent array of color from nose to tail, fin to fin. Castleberry starts with a drawing in charcoal on his board before applying the splashy, whimsical paint finish to his subjects. 

From locations over the nation people come through the North Bend airport, see his work, call in while they are Gallery by the Bay, or check out Coos Art Museum’s website to order his fish for their patios and homes for when they return home.

Liv Drahos, manager of the Rental Sales Gallery at Coos Art Museum where Castleberry has the bulk of his inventory for sale says, “David’s fish are popular and rapid sellers, appealing to travelers and the local community as well.” www.coosart.org

When asked if he calls himself an impressionist, he offered, “No, I’m just a painter.” He joked about one time having been asked by a gentleman who had heard he was a painter, asking him if he would paint his house. David replied, “Well, sir, I paint with a very small brush and charge by the hour, so I’m afraid it would not be to your satisfaction for me to paint your house, but thank you for asking.” 

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The musical talent of David Castleberry was demonstrated and appreciated in our community when he directed the Charleston Community Church Choir for seven years. He is worship director of the First Baptist Church in North Bend and has been serving in that position for the last 10 years.

With the passing of his parents, Castleberry is now adjusting to the changes this has brought about in his life and says it’s time for him to do what he calls, “Have the next adventure of life!” His exhibit at Gallery By the Bay in March will feature some of the work expressing the wonder and mystery of this new odyssey which beckons him.

Artist David Castleberry will be the featured artist at Gallery By The Bay through March and April with the opening reception in his honor 5-7 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the gallery located at 2100 Union Street in North Bend. If you miss the art opening stop by 5-7 p.m. Friday, March 16, during North Bend's Sip N' Stroll. It starts at Engle's Furniture.

An original painting will be donated for a drawing at 6 p.m., winner must be present. Robin O’Neill, guitarist, will present the music during the event for the listening pleasure of those attending. Refreshments.

If you are interested in exhibiting at Gallery By the Bay in North Bend, email Betty Bangs at r.bangs@charter.net.