David Ibata: Creating Fine Art & Challenging Perceptions

David Ibata

I met David Ibata at a gourmet coffee shop in the recently gentrified neighborhoods between 14th and U Streets in Washington DC. We had previously met through a mutual friend, and I chanced on some of his work at an art exhibition at the Anacostia Arts Center, also in Washington DC. He is a very talented artist on the rise, and I was particularly struck by one of his original works titled ‘A man has got to have code’. Our conversation charted around the impact that filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick and his own training in Judo has impacted his work. No mind-bending subject was off limits. I left our 2 hour meeting feeling inspired, invigorated and challenged to find my own path and voice.

David Ibata headshotI met him again at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC where he is part of the copyist program. It was amazing to see how happy the security guards were to see him painting copies of art done by great masters such as Rembrandt. Below are a few questions that will give you a sense of this talented artist- an artist who will undoubtedly be famous one day soon.

Who is David Ibata?

I am a Washington metropolitan based figurative painter born 1985. My formal education includes a BFA at the Corcoran College of Art and Design (2008), followed by an MFA from the New York Academy of Art (2010). I have been an official copyist at the National Gallery of Art since 2012. In fall of 2013, I along with fellow Corcoran and Howard University alumni, co-curated a DIY art show, ‘Countenance’. My work has been on show across art galleries in Washington, DC.

Who are some of your influences?

My influences run the spectrum. Certainly, Diego Velasquez’ (1618-1622) painting titled ‘The Warterseller of Seville’ is a big influence. Similarly, I am inspired by the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, The Coen brothers amongst others….

What is the “point of view” of your art?

My purpose is firstly to create art, because I am an artist. A corollary purpose would be to challenge perceptions of who can make fine art.

What’s next for David Ibata

I hope to see my work in some of the largest galleries in the United States as well as overseas. I just want to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.


David Ibata


David Ibata


David Ibata


David Ibata Washington, DC artist

You can find additional information about American-Jamaican-Congolese artist David Ibata at http://davidibata.virb.com/ and https://instagram.com/ibatapaints/

-Nana Gyesie

Story by Nana Gyesie, a Washington DC area based documentary and street photographer. More of his work can be found at www.nanagyesie.tumblr.com or on intagram.com/nanagyesie