David Stahl (left) and Edward Ball from Ball State
University (right) holding The Explorers Club Flag
in the "Ibis Gallery" North Cape York, Australia.

At eighteen Stahl's career in photography began when his first article was published in Surfer Magazine. The next 40 years as a magazine photographer gave assignments all over the world and provided the opportunity to revisit important art museums. He eventually became a contributing photographer for Surfing Magazine and Tracks in Australia.

Stahl's photographic work has been published in many publications from National Geographic and Australian Vogue to Outside, Yachting, Power and Motoryacht, Smithsonian, Discovery, to name a few and for the Jerusalem Post during the Yom Kippur War. Books include Australia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Mexico along with a chapter in a language text by Random House for the West Point Military Academy and a monthly travel column in Outdoor Life Magazine titled "The Frugal Fisherman." Besides his usual photographic work Stahl in 1981 was offered an assignment from The Australian Tourist Commission and Cullen & Taylor in New York to photograph and write about Australia. This assignment lasted six months and covered nearly all of the continent. A year later he returned to Australia to co-produce, write and co-direct an hour documentary on the ancient aboriginal cave paintings in the Cape York Peninsula for Ball State University. That expedition was awarded the prestigious Explorers Club flag of New York City - the same flag carried to the top of Mt. Everest by Hillary and Tensing and aboard the first mission to the moon. The documentary; "Art of the Dreamtime - Quinkan Country" aired twice on PBS and the sound track created by musician Steve Roach became a popular record album.

His next expedition, sponsored by The New York State Aquarium, was to document the declining reef system of the Cay Sal Banks off the coast of Cuba. This program aired on the National Geographic Channel. A feature article, "Who is Killing the Reefs of Florida" 1999, written and photographed by Stahl on the same subject was featured in Yachting Magazine and brought national attention to the demise of coral reefs in south Florida.

In 2007 the self taught Stahl, after having accomplished much in photography put aside his cameras except for his 8x10 film camera and turned exclusively to painting. Stahl's work is found in the Chrysler Museum, The South Florida Museum, The Explorer's Club of New York City, the embassies of Belize and Honduras and in many private collections.

My artistic approach and view:

A painting or drawing must be conceived and created with an overwhelming, positive feeling of confidence that the new work will be more than just good; it will be great and the best that I've ever done.

I spend much time composing what I do in my mind visualizing its ultimate look. And by doing this I become more and more excited...a feeling essential before starting any picture. Inspired is a commonly misused word and actually only half expresses what is going on within my whole being.
Knowing how to think competently and sensitively is the most essential part of art and by that I'm also including "feeling". It is because of the lack of preliminary "pump priming" that one sees so much bad painting. It's not bad technique, color, brushwork, drawing...that's the easy part. It's bad thinking, feeling, spirit and bad forms that are devoid of all significant art spirit that makes for bad art.

Much of my art education came from my father who was one of America's most famous painters and a great teacher. He guided me on the right path rather than trying to mold me into a clone of himself...something that teachers in art schools relentlessly seem to do. Most all recognized painters through out history who served time in schools wisely dropped out very quickly. The other great ones simply began feverously drawing as children and never stopped. This is why a measure of skepticism should be placed on artists proudly presenting their university degrees in art as a reason why their art should be taken seriously. Certainly the elements of picture making can be taught and must be learned but students of art should instead spend most of time in museums and the rest of their time drawing. One cannot be taught talent...but more important than talent is art spirit.

Apart from watching my father paint and visiting museums were the family trips taken to the caves in Lescaux in France and those in Altimira in Spain and many years later researching and creating the documentary for Ball State University on ancient aboriginal rock art in North Cape York, Australia which aired twice on PBS. These journeys proved to me, what my father said, that the art of painting, like Nature or man's psyche, and, unlike his capacity for intellectual and scientific accomplishment, has not improved over the centuries. Style has changed, implements have changed, and the subject matter used by artists has been anything but the same year after year. But quality? Quality of painting hasn't changed a bit. The same is true of Nature. The qualities she instills in her creations remain the same. Nature has never found it necessary to improve on herself. And although her 'look' has undergone countless revisions, the quality of that 'look' remains constant. She still produces trees and humans with the same physical perfection of thousands of years ago and a human brain as capable then as it is now.
So, quality in painting, as Nature, plus the urge which motivated those ancient humans to paint hunting scenes as well as symbolic figures on the walls of caves has remained unchanged throughout the ages.