David began sculpting in his teens , mostly figurative work carved in wood. Returning to Auckland in
his early twenties he worked in a variety of jobs including boatbuilding and construction and gained
skills with glass and carbon fibre, steel fabrication, welding and woodwork.
He became involved in the performing arts, experimenting with writing and acting and was shortly
employed full time designing and making sets and props for theatre , dance and film production.
McCracken saw the potential of steel fabrication for quickly producing large set pieces and at the
same time began making sculpture from readily available and inexpensive scrap when he could afford
little else. He also experimented with a variety of materials including granite and basalt boulders,
synthetic hair found objects and glass roving. He furthered his metal fabrication skills to include
aluminium, stainless steel, titanium, and corten steel and began casting in bronze and stainless steel.
He designed a number of furniture items which were produced in limited numbers.
In 2000 he had his first solo exhibition entitled ‘Fabrications’ at the McPherson gallery and exhibited
an innovative floating installation in lake Pupuke at the Beecroft Sculpture exhibition, marking the
beginning of a number of floating sculptures. In 2001 he was short listed for the Wallace art awards
and had another exhibition -‘H2O2’ at McPherson gallery as well as a number of private
commissions. Work slowed for a spell after the birth of his third child in 2002 but by 2003 he had
increased production and was sculpting full time.
McCracken is continually developing and adding to his vocabulary of systems and continues to try
new techniques such as that employed in ‘drop forged artwork’ – achieved by dropping a wrecking
ball from a crane onto a sheet of aluminium placed atop a sand bed to generate a massive ‘dent’… or
hydro-forming steel into complex compound forms with hydrostatic pressure, or driving over sheets of
steel with a vehicle to create curves. All he requires of these techniques is that they are reduced to
the fewest possible actions ,and remain economical and ‘analogue in spirit’. He continues to
experiment with water born sculpture regarding it as both a challenge and the ‘perfect venue for
sculpture’ and is developing systems for large scale land-art installations.
McCracken has exhibited widely in outdoor exhibitions including Sculpture on the gulf and Sculpture
by the sea (in Sydney) and has received a number of awards for his work. He has commissions in
New Zealand and internationally and continues to develop his oeuvre.