header pics by Elizabeth Bell

Thank you for visiting this blog – DT

NB: If you’d like to listen to some of David’s music, click this link
TPP track extracts on SOUND CLOUD




Ren Walters, SEPTEMBER 2016.

Dur-é Dara (David’s life partner) and I are adding materials to this site to make some of David’s work accessible to the public. We aim to retain much of the original site and simply add what we can when we uncover visual or aural works.

There is a large collection of audio works produced to CD that we would like to share with the public, and we are currently considering the most effective way of achieving this.

David Tolley, SELF PORTAIT, 2011, 1550h X 1110w acrylic on canvas


This blog is a way for me to gather and publish a range of stuff that has to do with my life and work. I’ll soon hit 77 and the spectre of mortality hovers. Time left relative to my relationship with art and music and time left to organise the things I have amassed in my daily life, becomes crucial.

The idea of a blog insinuated itself. Naively perhaps but the ‘blog’ seems to me to have developed into a real-time, real-world document as distinct from the, static, indelible forms – audio recording, video and DVD, film and the literary and photographic tomb (just a thought!).

So over time I’ll post various aspects of my work hopefully striking a balance between the needs of my current work and working processes and the documentation of past and present as creatively as this blog format permits.


For many years image, object, and sound making have all competed for a fair share of attention. Among these, interactive improvisation with other performance composers has been particularly insistent. All these elements have supported each other, and sustained me, throughout my life and there has been no conflict, just limited time.

My considerations and decision-making in painting, my current favoured art process, are indistinguishable from those in sounding or anything else in fact. Regardless of media, methodology and style, I am always concerned with the dynamic and interactive, with processes of inter-relationship and inter-dependence. Media and procedure are inter-determined and all of it is an expression of mind energy interactions and of the frailty and impermanence of everything.

Teaching has reflected my concerns as an artist in these realms, functioning as another art process and I have been blessed with a number of very special individuals as students. Many have been at a basic level of art and music investigation – nonetheless stimulating for me – and many have been at the ‘turning point’, that indecipherable stage where ‘student’ becomes ‘artist’ and ‘teacher’ or ‘guru’ becomes colleague. Suffice to say it is a difficult period, if not an illusion, often sticky with emotive confusion. I won’t discuss them in this context though I am often blessed with their declarations of my place in their creative energy and often feel pride in their achievements. This blog is dedicated to them all.

DT, © 2010, revised © 2013


9 thoughts on “”

  1. This is one very interesting and absorbing site. What a pleasure to be able to see the vast range of your work!
    As always you set the standard of dedication in an artist: one completely devoted to authentic self expression in a pure stream of creativity. By the way, who’s your cook? Your site is most erudite, colouful and informative. I particularly enjoyed Geoffrey Smith’s opening speech for the MARS gallery solo show. What a joyous tribute in rollicking laugh form!
    I look forward to watching your site unRAAP as time goes by……if you can…we haven’t seen you for days!

  2. c. solo said:

    Hello David,
    I want to know more about your record “you know you know” from 1981.
    Can you tell me something specific and interesting about that record production?
    For example how many copies had been pressed.

    • Dear C Solo

      Sorry I can’t help a lot re You Know You Know. I’ve got no idea how many were pressed. Can you explain how come you’re interested?

      regards DT

  3. Carolyn Connors said:

    David, lovely site. Fantastic way to bring together your work, and an elegant (nice word for this site) way of displaying/sharing/acknowledging yr multiple creative stuff. I hope that you fill up this site with an abundance of historical and current outpourings. x

  4. love the site david, the six string violin stuff is great!!! i was wondering a few things… where i can get (buy??) a copy of “Beneath that crack in the door” love that piece, had it on a cassette taped of the ABC from late 90’s…on of those things that really got me into this kinda music (thanks for that david!!!)
    also, i am wondering if you would be interested in doing some sort of collaboration with myself, be it in person or via the internerd… im based in newcastle but i guess i could travel??
    http://www.noisemachine.info is my site if you want to have a look at some of what i do….

  5. Andrew Shields said:

    Are you the the same person who released an amazing electronic album in the ear;y 80’s called “Tolly and Dara” (?) which had a track called “Cut the heart out” ? It is so great!

    • Hi Andrew

      Yes I am, MUCH older and INFINITELY wiser Thank you for the complement

      • Andrew Shields said:

        Hi David, That album is the only thing by you I’ve heard, and a fellow called Phil played it for me, it was a pretty “intense” experience, with some sort of Aztec theme running through it? I liked it very much! Cheers, Andrew

  6. Thank you Marieke

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