The Twin Cities Restore is a great place to find material for home improvement projects - but what you may not know is that it’s also a hotspot for talented local artists. These creative people shop at the ReStore to find unique or inspiring material for their work. Dave Prochniak is one such artist.
Dave has always enjoyed creating things. He even remembers one of his first projects; an ambitious attempt to build a domed stadium out of cardboard boxes as a young child. Even today, many of his projects are depictions of buildings.
“I started really painting in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I moved there because I was bored and needed to create something to hang on the walls. That was about twenty years ago,” Dave recalls.
Dave’s inspiration is varied. His biggest influence is his son, but sometimes everyday life simply puts an idea in his head. On top of that, he’s a constant daydreamer.
Of course, inspiration can come from just about anything. The ReStore staff saw this first hand a few months ago after they received a donation of thin wood panels used for the bottom of drawers.
“I was skeptical about the donation at first,” said Pete O’Keefe, Senior Operations Manager at the ReStore. “Who would be interested in purchasing these?... Surprisingly, we sold them to artists a few at a time!”
After talking with the customers and realizing the drawer bottoms didn’t have much utility on their own, Pete had his own spark of inspiration and decided to officially rebrand them as “craft boards”. They became an instant hit when shoppers saw their value as wooden canvasses.
Those “craft boards” are what Dave Prochniak used to create this gorgeous piece (pictured left).
“I love the mystery of an abandoned building,” Dave said, “the thought that it could be brought back to life. Just imagine all the life stories that building experienced.”
Dave’s style isn’t a mere painting, but an actual three dimensional depiction of a house, giving it a surreal look that fits well with its dilapidated appearance.
“I have painted many abandoned structures and then thought, ‘wow, what if I just did the outline of the building in 3d and hung it on a wall?’ ” he said.
Dave has been shopping at the ReStore for two years now and many of his pieces are created from ReStore items. As an artist, not knowing what he will find is helpful to spark his creativity.
“You never know what you will find, that’s what is most fun. If you go to a big box store everything is new and decided. Not much fun there,” Dave said.
Just like some of the staff at the ReStore, Dave finds enjoyment out of bringing unwanted items back to life. He also appreciates the staff’s enthusiasm, helpful advice and shared desire to make old items shine again.
“I love the idea and the opportunity to create something out of old paint or unwanted materials. It provides a fun pallet, you have to start with the ‘stuff’ and generate ideas from that. It’s a different approach to painting,” Dave explained.
Dave says he’ll keep returning to the ReStore for supplies. Currently, you can see his work at the Chilkoot Cafe in Stillwater, Minnesota, where Dave is one of the featured artists on display until the end of June. His art is also on display at the Lake Elmo Library.
You can check out more of Dave’s art on his Facebook page .