Q: How did the David Alan Collection come into existence?
A: The David Alan Collection (DAC for short), is a blend and culmination of much of what I’ve learned and loved in life, from my undergrad degree in studio art and art history to the restoration of a Victorian house on the Hudson River. If you add my love for travel in the East (over 30 trips to India and Asia), a passion for third world art and craft and my businesses on Cedros Ave., the foundation for DAC begins to emerge. The name, by the way, comes from my first and middle name, David Alan Bardwick.
Q: What businesses on Cedros were you involved in?
A: The first one, Creative Carpentry and Woodworking, I started in my garage in 1979, in University City where I designed and built furniture, learned more about wood, and structure, design, and integrity of furniture. I moved this business into “Cut & Dried Hardwood” (when I bought it at the end of 1985), in its old location at 143 S. Cedros. This is where I “cut my teeth” on retail. I was young, clueless and an artist. Excitement and passion helped make up for knowing next to nothing. I learned as I went along …… about wood, people, commerce and myself.
In 1993, my wife, Amita and I started “Trios Gallery” with two other couples, a business which we eventually owned ourselves. It was a great venture in community participation and group ownership, and it honed our skills in recognizing good artists and good work. Along the way came the short lived and painful retail store, “Lanai,” our Indonesian manufactured import shop on Cedros. I learned that I need to do my own buying, buy only what I love, and to cut my losses quickly when necessary…. among other things.
Q: So you have passed the “background check.” You still owned two other retail businesses?
A: In 2002 and 2003, Amita and I decided to clear the slate with the sale of Trios, Cut & Dried and our house and see what emerged. We even thought of taking a “year off.” I was clear that anything short of finding “something that I absolutely love to do, that would use ‘all of me’ and still demand my growth, creatively, intellectually and spiritually,” would be insufficient. Life is too short to settle for less.
Q: Voila! David Alan Collection (DAC) appears?
A: We all know it is never that clear or easy, except looking back in time. The “year off” was a passing fantasy that never was meant to be. It did make me ask: which of the American dreams is greater 1) to do for work, what you truly love or 2) to retire young and seek entertainment and the greatest comfort with the least responsibility?” Dream number two never really had a chance. I’m too driven to make things, to create, to build. As much as I want to be comfortable, its pursuit is my personal road to hell.
The seeds of the future DAC were planted years ago with a “someday I’ll ……” thought about starting a “by appointment only,” word-of-mouth collection in the corner of Cut & Dried Hardwood’s basement. This would perhaps satisfy my insatiable urge to treasure-hunt and share my booty with like-minded souls. It would be a fun, low risk, limited inventory avocation that required little time and attention. You know, all play and no work, and an excuse to do what I already love to do: Adventure Collecting.
It was a nice thought. Like all things in life, businesses have a life, will and mind of their own. They evolve. They require faith. They demand trust and courage. Perhaps most of all, they require that we listen to what they want to become and give them what’s needed for their growth and development. At its best, a business is a co-creation of whole community: a vision, actualization and evolution of an organism that is sensitive, responsive, responsible, alive, vulnerable, resilient and true. Thus David Alan Collection was born, embraced and encouraged, and is something like a wildebeast that runs full speed 20 minutes after birth. I have been listening to the whispers and growls of this beautiful beast ever since. It is full of energy, hungry to learn and grow, and insistent in its demand to bring as much beauty and soul to the Shores of America as possible, Pronto!