‘Silver Slipper’

David Milton

See It
Milton’s work will be part of the Laguna Art Museum’s annual Art Auction on Feb. 4, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949-494-8971, lagunaartmuseum.org. To see more, visit davidmiltonstudio.com.

Milton, who has painted since he was 14, started working in his photorealistic style while at San Jose State University. His interest in Americana goes back to a childhood surrounded by ’40s and ’50s architecture. Inspired by a remote lot where Vegas casino signs, such as the one made for the Silver Slipper, go to die, he began working on the “Neon Boneyard” series six years ago.

Milton photographs his subjects, then creates a detailed drawing from the images as a blueprint for the final painting. Standing at his drafting table, he paints in watercolors from the lightest shades to the darkest because there’s little room for correction. He preserves the architectural accuracy of the original photo, but sometimes changes colors of the signs or sky. 

“It seemed important to find, document, paint, and share this. That’s what my job is: to see the world through my eyes and share that vision. It’s a world of wonderful retro stuff that people remember beyond mere nostalgia. I put a lot of emotion into my work. It may be a portrait of a building or old sign, but I genuinely love those things.”

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This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue.

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