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71-Year-Old Retiree Discovers Passion for Painting, Helps Preserve Montreal's History through Art

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

With the opening of his new art store, David Schwartzman of Montreal proves that you can start something new & take up a cause at any age.

After spending 30 years in the insurance industry, David Schwartzman hasn't stayed idle since retiring. He's discovered a new passion— painting, and it just so happens, he is really good at it, too.

"I enjoy painting as a way to express myself. When I am able to smile at my own work I feel I have achieved something," stated Schwartzman.

Schwartzman's later-in-life hobby initially grew out of a desire to document memories of his youth on his grandparents' farm in Joliette, Quebec during the 1950s and 1960s since few photos existed. He has now made it a mission to also preserve other landmarks, buildings and important sites throughout Montreal with his uplifting, vibrant artwork.

"Paintings represent the feelings, the values and the emotions that transcend time. My art is a way of communicating the attachment and love for my home city," explained Schwartzman.

According to a recent report, Montreal is the #3 city in the country for real estate investments with new construction that continues to change the dynamics of Montreal's districts and skyline. As a lifelong resident of the city, Schwartzman believes it's vital to capture pieces of the city's landscape before it changes or no longer exists.

"I love Montreal, but I fear that so much beauty is being destroyed by developers," stated Schwartzman. My paintings call out for the preservation of our oldest and most charming housing, corner stores, curving outside stairways, etc."

To date, Schwartzman has painted dozens of street scenes from his neighborhood. These bright and colorful paintings depict the sense of community that he sees, as well as captures original buildings in an otherwise changing city.

"When I'm about to start a new painting, my most important thoughts are – 'what does this subject say to me?' and 'what do I want to say to the public through my painting?'" explained the painter. "Some of my artwork have personalized, hidden messages as a homage to my family, such as nicknames "spray painted" on a building or a painting of my dog Chewy who recently passed."

In an effort to reach an even larger audience, he recently opened his very first online art store through Etsy.

"I feel proud when my work is viewed, and I also feel encouraged that others see the beauty of guarding the heritage of my native city and hopefully of their own neighborhoods," he said.

Schwartzman says he has no plans to put down his brush, canvas and paint anytime soon. In some ways, the painter is just getting started. The more Montreal changes, the more his desire to paint grows.

“The best thing about Montreal as a source of artistic inspiration is that this will never end. However, we cannot become complacent and accept that buildings must be demolished for roadways, for condominiums, or due to neglect by their owners,” expressed Schwartzman.

Along with preserving Montreal’s history through his art and supporting careful development of the city, he hopes he also serves as a reminder to individuals that they can have a passion or try something new at any age.

“Nobody is too old to paint and everybody has something special to remember, to share, or to teach about,” he stated.

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