“Spirit Of The Moment”

acrylic on canvas, 48 × 48″, 2016, inquire about price, by Ruth Chase

This painting is part of the West of Lincoln Project. The content of this painting came from working closely with David for several months on the phone and through texts, making sure the details reflected his valuable life wisdom.


David Fowler
b. 1966 | 816 Superba Ave.

Growing up in Venice is a metaphor for life. On a skate, you fall down and you get back up. In life, you take your family with you. They are the ride. They fall and you help them get back up.

I started out life with two wonderful parents, my mom, who came here from Guatemala in 1961 and my father who was born in the U.S. They met at Santa Monica College and they were married at Saint Marks Church in 1962. My family lived at 816 Superba Ave, a beautiful two story craftsman in the heart of Venice.

I had a brother, Alex, who was born with Cystic Fibrosis and passed away in 2011 after suffering with the disease for 48 years. He was one of the longest living people with the disease, and I believe it was because of my parents’ lifelong dedication to caring for him. Alex wouldn’t be the last relationship that I feared to lose because of a life altering disease. These experiences would shape who I was and made me a stronger man. I would learn to believe that there are blessings behind everything.

As a kid in Venice, you were out all day. Nobody asked where you were going or who you were with. Venice became my classroom. As a little kid, I was exposed to things that no kid should ever be exposed to, but that was the norm in the neighborhood. I was like most teenagers, hanging out drinking and partying.

Unfortunately, I had to grow up the hard way, and with all the adversity and sickness in my family, I turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the pain of seeing my family suffer. I am very proud to say that I quit drinking when I was young and I have not had a drink in over 25 years.

Since I was really young, I always had a passion for skateboarding and was influenced by the older guys to want to become a better skater. With the challenges in my life, I used skateboarding to get it all Out! Skateboarding was a release for me and was reflected in how I skated, always releasing energy and anger. In Venice, you had to be tough, have an edge. I thought that was who I was for a while until I finally realized that I was so much more.

Just a few years ago everything was going great. I had a new job; I had the happiest house on the block, with a beautiful wife, and 3 amazing daughters all going to the same elementary school that my wife and I went to here in Venice. Everything was perfect. We had our stuff to deal with though, as one of my younger twin girls, Maile, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 5 years old. There is no cure. Caring for her diabetes requires management 24/7, is extremely challenging, and at times, very overwhelming.

In April of 2014, my wife was diagnosed with Stage 3-C ovarian cancer, and a month after that, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. We were faced with a difficult and scary new reality. My wife and I began to meditate every night and pray together out of pure necessity. We opened up our hearts together and were able to find peace through the most challenging of times. However, the challenges did not stop there, as my oldest daughter was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes shortly after my wife completed her last chemo treatment.

Miracles do come true though! There is light at the end of this story. Both my wife and my mom are both 2 1/2 years in remission from Cancer and we are basking in the light of gratitude for every moment that we have.

I believe that life is happening for me, and I open myself up to all of the possibilities every day. Now I realize the spirit of life is in this moment. Every morning I wake up and find the light of the sun. I close my eyes and take in another day, another moment, and know that it is all happening right now, and to show up for it with awareness, gratitude, and an open heart so that I don’t miss being present with my wife and kids.

Bio written by David Fowler