California Artist Spotlight : David Trulli

David Trulli is a California artist you should know about.

I first met David when I was hired to direct a short documentary about the closing of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and David was the cinematographer whom the company had hired.

We had to create compelling TV out of images of old barracks, rusting ship locks, drained swimming pools, and empty offices. David found a way to shoot the barren mid-Century industrial architecture in a beautiful way, and I found enough characters with great stories to put in those settings that somehow it came to life. I loved his eye, and we stayed in touch.

In 2001, I asked him to shoot my short film, Dodgeball, a comedy about a company where to get ahead you must compete in the weekly company dodgeball game.

The film pre-dated the feature of the same name, but there’s another story that goes with that.

We became friends, and I noticed and admired a few things about him:

He is a clothes horse. A lot of Los Angeles cinematographers wear cargo shorts with Hawaiian print shirts, and he said he was tired of being that guy on a set, so he spent some money and graduated up to what he calls “grown-up clothes.” Now he wears suits whenever he works, and he looks good in a fedora.

He also inspired me to improve my own wardrobe. He appreciates a good root beer float. When he and his wife Lisa (an amazing editor) came over for dinner in the summer, he enthused about how they are the perfect treat on a hot summer night.

David surprised me a few years later when he said he was leaving cinematography to be a fine artist, and that scratchboard was going to be his medium. To me, it seemed daring but risky; much like an actor quitting the theater to become a singer. Yet it worked.

He is now a successful fine artist, with his own studio on Hollywood Boulevard, and successful gallery shows every year or show throughout Southern California.

In fact, he is part of a show happening right now at the Pacific Design Center featuring black and white art:

Another Year in LA

May 16 - August 9, 2013

Pacific Design Center

Suite B267

8687 Melrose

West Hollywood, CA 90069


Over the last few years I have bought one original piece, one lithograph from a limited series, and a poster.

A good mix, and I can say I collect California art now. His work captures a dark world where there is no escape from modern technology, yet nature and humanity manage to break through, like a blade of grass coming up through the sidewalk.

His older work evoked classic Los Angeles Noir, which

first drew me to his art, but I like his new pieces even better.

Tranquility Base

Beyond Daylight

Edge of Town

Also, as I

transition into a new career, I look at David Trulli’s art with an added twist. I think of how he succeeded in becoming someone new, and the idea of self-transformation suddenly seems attainable and not so lofty.

He also turned me on to an amazing radio show and podcast, which changed my life and it may change your life as well -- RadioLab, out of WNYC.

Whenever we see each other we talk about our favorite RadioLab episodes.

Somewhere Gone

Check out his work at (his current shows listed here):

Check out RadioLab at (listen to Sl

eep and Emergence):

You can find Dodgeball, the film we did together, at this website! Navigate to the Movies tab on the left.