David Mann was inspired by Western images from the time he was a child and read a book illustrated by Alfred Jacob Miller, one of the pioneering painters of Western art. Mann was also inspired by Frank McCarthy illustrations he saw in Life magazine. Then, as a young Mormon Church missionary, Mann was assigned to the Southwest and lived for two years with the Apache on the San Carlos reservation, the Pimas and Papagos near Tucson, and the Pueblos and Navajos near Albuquerque. This mission to the Southwest Indian Nations left an indelible impression on Mann, and became the basis of his art.
Nonetheless, the mission was only the beginning for the young painter. Mann studied art at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and graduated with a major in art education. He then held a variety of jobs, including teaching, working in construction, working as a librarian, as well as an illustrator. He also worked for both the State of Utah and the Department of the Interior, jobs which allowed him to explore and paint the landscape he had come to enjoy.
Mann married, and supporting his desire to paint full time, his wife Terry supported their family, which gave him a chance to pursue his dream. During this time, Mann looked to artists such as Frank Tenney Johnson and Frederic Remington for inspiration. After four years, he became a success in the eye of collectors, and since then has been in continuous demand.
A painter of the everyday life of Native American figures, Mann does extensive research on the clothing and background objects of his works, but does not show actual historical events. Most of his Plains Indians are placed in the context of the mid to late 19th century, before they were moved to reservations and when they could still practice the rituals of their culture. Although Mann does not romanticize his models, his goal is to create an “uplifting portrayal” of a people and way of life beyond the superficial; he seeks to show the viewer the depth of the Plains Indians and their lives.
Reference: AskArt.com, artist publication