We had the good fortune of connecting with David Eichler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, why did you pursue a creative career?
Not a day of my life has been spent inhabiting anything but a creative career. I can’t say I ever made a choice. It just always has been my reality. I’ve had three creative careers. In my 20’s, I climbed the ladder in the film industry, producing films for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox. I founded a PR/Ad agency 15 years ago representing clients like Tide and Dunkin’ Donuts. And, my greatest passion of all, I have been a photographer since I was a young boy. Much of that time, professionally. In college, I earned a degree in Film Studies.
Have there been moments where I looked on enviously as my friends pursued more lucrative and stable paths like law and finance? Sure. But I also know how little they enjoy going to work. I see how much they have (literally) physically aged while bringing home that big paycheck but never being home to see their families. The point is I know the grass is definitely not greener, even if the bank account is. As a Best Picture Oscar-winning Producer told me early in my career if you can picture doing anything else (besides making movies) you might as well quit now because it’s going to be so hard you will want to quit hundreds of times down the road.
There have been so many moments in my life where my ability to see the world through a creative or different lens was undeniable. The one that comes to mind is when I was building a home and met with the company that would be constructing our pool. I had a very clear vision in my head of what I wanted. I sketched it out (mind you I have zero fine art talent) and handed it to the salesman and he said in his 20+ years nobody had ever asked for what I had.
The point isn’t to pat myself on the back for what turned out to be a widely-lauded design. Training and hard work are important. Dedication and passion are essential. But whether you call it “talent” or something else that can only be given by a power higher, when you have been blessed with creative vision you simply have no choice but to fulfill it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I was a boy, my parents insisted on my taking music lessons. Everything — piano, violin, drums — they thrust at me, I rejected. Yet, when I was 8 I started playing with my dad’s camera. I was quite literally clutching at it. By the time I was 16 I had had a few small paid gigs and visions of skipping college and moving to NYC danced through my head. Not something my parents were thrilled with (the overprotected perils of being an only child) and I lacked the conviction to stick to my guns.
So I veered away from my photography career, instead learning filmmaking and writing. I achieved a great deal in Hollywood and my PR agency is now in its 15th year. Over those years I continued to shoot for fun and got great satisfaction in sharing images online for friends. At that time I had been diagnosed as bi-polar and I came to understand that I found peace and yes, literally and symbolically light, in my hobby. More than anything I hoped to impart that joy on others. I wanted them to see the beauty I see in the world. When I was turning 50 years old, many people in my life insisted that I start to sell my work. I began a massive undertaking, editing almost 200,000 images to distill them down to my top 1,500.
In the 2 years since I have been accepted into artist-in-residency programs in Ireland and Cuba, both delayed by COVID. I have been selected and exhibited in galleries in 15 states including 4 times in my hometown of Denver. I’ve sold a number of images through those shows and online and can genuinely feel I am getting better as an artist. While my technique was already pretty well-honed – composition being a particular strength — the subjects I point my lens at have diversified, with portraits and lifestyle of particular distinction. I now get more satisfaction from the picture I take of the 13-year-old Buddhist monk than the Buddhist temple at sunrise. And I am learning what it means to be a professional artist. Being willing to put myself in the spotlight, talking to patrons in galleries and even pricing my work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to Denver 7 years ago after much longer stints in Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco so I’m just starting to scratch the surface really. The best skiing and Colorado scenery, in general, is down southeast in Telluride. It is a special place. Closer by, Breckenridge is a great mountain town. Like everyone in Denver I worship at the alter which is Red Rocks Amphitheater. The acoustics and setting are unmatched. I am a lover of animals and there is a hidden gem just outside town called the Wildlife Sanctuary. It has the latest collection of big cats in the country but it is not a zoo. The animals have acres to roam freely and there isn’t a facility like it anywhere. There’s a bar called Forest Room 5 which has an outdoor patio with a running river going through it and it is 100% dog friendly. People let their pups run freely. It is special. Sliceworks is a little NY Style pizza place run by three Italian brothers from back east and the food is absolutely amazing. Sweet Cow is an Ice cream chain across Denver and Boulder that is phenomenal. To say they are generous with their ingredients (there are whole oreos in the cookies and cream). is an understatement. I’m not a big drinker so I can’t recommend a lot of bars or micro brews (there are a lot of them) but I can point you to any number of the amazing cannabis dispensaries like Diego Pelicer. A sunset baseball game at Coors Field has stunning sunset views of the mountains
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow. SO hard to narrow this down. My patient, loving wife of 27 years Diane. My college (Wesleyan University) professor and life-long mentor Jeanine Basinger. My business partner of 15 years Tyler Rathjen. And a brilliant book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.