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David Steven Gale

December 4, 1945 - January 13, 2021

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Culver City High School, Class of 1963
University of California, Berkeley, Class of 1967, BA in English, Member Phi Beta Kappa

Survived by his brother, Bruce P. Gale, Sister-in- Law (Sandy), and his cousins. His dear friends, fellow artists, and those who were amazed by his creativity and generosity mourn his passing.

David was a gifted designer of Functional Art who had his work shown by the Lois Lambert Gallery of Functional Art (Santa Monica, CA) and InterFlight Studio (the only gallery in the world specialized in aerospace contemporary art and design, Miami, FL.) His work appeared at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and he made countless unique pieces commissioned by individuals all over the US. He also restored art works and antiques for the Obsolete Gallery of Culver City, California.

David started aviation art as a tribute to the old models that were created for display in the 50’s. He made the tooling for the core as well as wood and plastic patterns for the airplanes’ steel structures. The result was a unique handmade plane with a lamp (with dimmer) designed so when lit, the glow lights up the plane, giving the illusion of a plane flying at night with its cabin lights on.

John Travolta is among the aviation connoisseurs and art collectors, one of the proud owners of an original David Gale lamp.

In an interview published on the InterFlight Studio website, David said that “I have always liked the exterior shapes of classic aircraft from the 30’s through the 50’s. Especially the early jets like the P-80, F-86, Meteor, and MIG-15, and all commercial transports of the 40’s and 50’s.

“In my artwork, I use the techniques, riveting, and sheet metal used in aircraft and automobiles. Plane structure is always strong yet as lightweight as possible, a type of idealized construction. I try to keep the aesthetics of aircraft alive but add new materials and function to go beyond the creation of a straight sculpture.”

David has been an artist and a craftsman since early childhood. In junior high school, he created a solar powered barbecue grill, and in high school and college, he restored an antique 1932 Ford “Little Deuce Coupe,” a 1947 Plymouth Woody Wagon, and an early model Porsche Speedster. As an adult, he designed and built rattan furniture while working as an editor and writer before devoting himself to making functional and recycled metal art.

With a passion for airplanes and race cars, David created artworks sourced in function that displayed his ironic humor. He was mostly impressed with the way that airplanes and their electronic components look in spite the fact that their manufacturers concentrated on function and not on aesthetics per se. Engineers design airplanes and their avionic subsystems with factors in mind other than aesthetics such as speed, airflow, weight, and ergonomics. The fact that planes, avionics panels, and discarded residue of industrial production are beautiful is unintentional. But it is this spontaneous beauty that moved David to create lamps, furniture, and metal sculpture from parts that have lost their original function.