Dave Manousos

Red Vinyl, acrylic on canvas

-Dave, we'd love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today, both personally and as an artist.  

Over the course of 35 years, I have explored and experimented with various painting and illustrating techniques. My pursuits have included writing and illustrating children’s books, working in graphic design, and consistently practicing painting.

Growing up as the middle child among 11 siblings, I often felt somewhat lost in the shuffle. However, when I wasn't busy playing with the neighborhood kids, I found solace in my grandmother's studio. She was a skilled fine artist who exclusively allowed me access to her creative space. She shared her methods, taught me about color theory, and introduced me to a wide array of techniques.

Although I have taken several courses taught by master painters throughout my career, I consider myself primarily self-taught. I am constantly engaged in the process of learning, whether through online courses or by immersing myself in documentaries about the techniques of the old masters. My artistic style is greatly influenced by master artists such as George Condo, Magritte, Picasso, Matisse, Peter Max, Walt Disney, Klee, Dali, Miro, Kandinsky, and numerous others.

Dave Manousos

Cup O'Joe, acrylic on canvas

-The oversized eye is a recurring motif in your work. Could you elaborate on its prominence in your paintings?

The concept of the "Big Eye" originated from a painting I created where I placed a single yellow stroke in the shape of a "J" on a canvas. This stroke inspired me to add a large eye at the highest point of the stroke. Building on these two elements, I developed a complete portrait, giving birth to the Big Eye Collection.

The contrast between the oversized eye and the expressive eye on the opposite side creates a dual personality within a single space. When observing one of my paintings, I encourage viewers to cover one side of the face with their hand, and then do the same on the other side. This reveals two distinct emotions or expressions occupying the same area.

Furthermore, I perceive the hollow eye as a guiding point for viewers to construct their own narratives for the artwork. The Big Eye prompts the audience to engage with the piece and form a personal attachment. What story lies behind the Big Eye? This question enables viewers to become actively involved in interpreting the artwork.

Dave Manousos

Black Book, acrylic on canvas

-How has your style evolved over time, have there been significant shifts in your approach?

I primarily work with acrylic paints mixed with gesso which I chisel with palette knives to create textures, shading, and depth in my artwork. While I have experimented with oil sticks, acrylic pens as well as mixed media on some pieces, the majority of my works are done with acrylic medium.

In my earlier work, brushes and rollers played a significant role in my process. However, in my current work, I have embraced the use of palette knives for applying and removing paint, as it allows me to achieve the desired textures and effects.

An essential tool in my repertoire is a spray bottle filled with water. After applying a layer of paint, I use the spray bottle to selectively wash away thicker areas of paint, creating an almost watercolor-like appearance in certain parts of the artwork.

Dave Manousos

The Visitor, acrylic on canvas

-In your work you have a striking blend of realistic elements with abstract shapes. How do you manage to harmonize these two styles so effectively?

Explaining the concept of harmony in a piece of art can often be challenging as it tends to emerge naturally.

In my compositions, I strive to capture the nuances of character and emotion. This particular series of paintings offers a glimpse into the memories, objects, and people I have encountered throughout my personal journey. Whether it is expressed through the use of color, choice of subject matter, or the interplay between various elements, my intention is to evoke a sense of nostalgia by reflecting upon my own life experiences.

Frequently, the objects I depict being held by the characters serve as reminders of my childhood. In my artwork, there exists a playful yet poignant quality, which may reflect my upbringing in a large family of 11 siblings, where one often feels lost in the shuffle, particularly as a middle child. These happy and sad juxtapositions that we encounter in childhood find their expression within my work.

Dave Manousos

Power Breakfast, acrylic on canvas

-What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?

While I have a website dmanousos.com that provides my bio and show schedules, I encourage viewers to scroll through my Instagram @dmanoos9 or Facebook page dave.manousos to find the most comprehensive inventory of my work.


I have always been drawn to the playful yet tragic aspects of life, which is reflected in my artwork. Growing up in a family of 11 siblings, I know what it feels like to get lost in the shuffle, especially as the middle child. My paintings often incorporate happy and sad moments pulled from my childhood experiences.

In my compositions, I aim to capture the subtle nuances of character and emotion. Through the strategic use of color, texture, and composition, I bring forth the essence of my subjects onto the canvas. The end result is a collection of paintings that evoke nostalgia, emotions, and a sense of timelessness. I hope that my art triggers powerful memories for those who view it, while subsequently keeping the memories of the past alive for the future.

Dave Manousos

Prim, acrylic on canvas


Dave Manousos

Clearly, acrylic on canvas

Dave Manousos is a fine artist originally from Oakland, CA, but currently residing in Northern California Gold Country. His artwork is regularly showcased in various regions including the San Francisco Bay Area, northern California Sacramento region, and Southern California, including Las Laguna and San Diego. Additionally, he has exhibited his work in numerous locations on the east coast as well as recently in Zurich, Switzerland.

Specializing in acrylic medium painting, Manousos is best known for his "Big Eye Collection." This collection seamlessly combines his illustration and painting techniques, prominently featuring an oversized eye on one side of the face.

His artwork is characterized by vibrant colors, textured layers, and abstract shapes, all of which work together to depict nostalgic imagery of individuals from his own life. Manousos seeks to capture fragmented moments and preserve history through his art. Drawing inspiration from memories of past relationships, family members, and significant life events, his paintings serve as narratives of profound interpersonal connections.

With his art, Manousos aims to evoke nostalgia, stir deep emotions, and leave a lasting impression on those who experience his creations.