Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Artist of the Week

Jennifer Davis

One question that I tend stay away from when talking with artists is that of inspiration, mainly because the artists inspiration tends to vary greatly. The artist is typical focused on one moment or object, but it is a highly creative eye that is focused. Faces may blur or become a patchwork of lines and colors or they may be replicated to perfection, it is all in the skilled hands of the artist. Their inspiration can be drawn from a single molecule, or a blade of grass, or a swam of people. Often people become animals or animals become people as they dance or die, it's all a creation based in some part on a moment in time.

One artist who has a wildly perceptive eye is Minnesota's Jennifer Davis. She has the ability to create incredible adventures or quite fantasy out of simple things. Her work seems to live in a realm beyond imagination, a world filled with rabbits and seals and more. Her work has been featured on the covers of many books and albums, and she is currently participating in the Inaugural Group Exhibition: FRESH : Gallery Selections at Cerasoli Gallery in Los Angeles.

Recently, Jennifer was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Most of your work seems to be inspired by childhood images. Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you typically work from a source image?
Jennifer Davis (JD): I am always interested in the most basic human emotions and experiences- the stuff we all have in common. Sometimes that just naturally boils down to early/childhood experiences.

Yes, I often work from source images. I have a massive collection of vintage magazines, catalogs, newspapers, etc. because I used to make a lot of collages. I still regularly mine those sources for ideas but these days I am more interested in drawing and reinterpreting.

OA: I have seen you reference the work of Matthew Feyld (an Orange Alert almun) in a previous interview. Could there be a collaboration in the works? What are your thoughts on collaborations in general?
JD: I don’t remember the context but I probably listed him as an inspiration. I don’t know him but I am inspired by his work. I am fascinated by his minimal and spare yet POWERFUL imagery.

I have participated in some fabulous collaborations. I am just starting one now with “anonymous art student from holland.” “anonymous art student from holland” will describe a picture to me and I will paint it. That is my idea of a good time.

I have an ongoing collaboration with my friend Amy Rice. She is a stencil artist. She makes large scale stencil interpretations of my work and I have made paintings and collages inspired by her work. We have had a couple of shows with the results of our collaboration. We have also messed around with some Gocco prints.

Left: Amy Rice (stencil) and Right: Jennifer Davis

OA: Your work recently appeared in "The Last American Valentine: Illustrated Poems to Seduce and Destroy". How did you get involved in this project? What are your thoughts on the connection the artist and the writer?
JD: I “met” the authors/publishers of the book project, “Write Bloody”, on Myspace of all places. This is a new kind of collaboration for me but we have chatted about some possible future projects so I may have the opportunity to work with more writers.

I have worked on art projects for several musicians that I love and I think it is a similar relationship. (Benjamin Brackett, Brad Senne, Brian Just, and Mason Jennings

OA: What can you tell us about the Atypical Project?

JD: From Atypical:

“ATYPICAL is a multi format, limited edition art and philanthropicproject that functions in a number of ways: as a collection ofcontemporary art,design and expression, as a publication, as anexhibition, and as a collective family of like minded creatives aimingto raise money for charity through their artwork and vision.”

“The collection will be housed inside of a very special box similar tothat of a childhood makeshift treasure chest and will contain: LimitedEdition silkscreens from an amazing group of artists and illustrators,a t-shirt edition created by couture fashion designer Jared Gold, anexclusive designer toy series by Raymond Choy the head of TOY2R, Jewelry pieces by ODDBIRD, CHARCOAL DESIGNS or MADAME FORTUNA (inselected copies), handmade patches by artist and Younity founder AliceMizrachi, and more treats which are still in the works.”

The beneficiary for the premier Atypical collection, which will be released in the fall of 2008, is “One Laptop Per Child.” For more info and a complete list of participants go here.

OA: What are your thoughts on "new media" (i.e. blogs, etsy, on-line galleries, etc) as it relates to the promotion of the artist?
JD: These things have definitely put a lot of the power back in the hands of the artist. I am personally addicted to all of the above.At the same time, I cherish my relationships with the more traditional gallery system. After all, I am most interested in focusing my attention on making art, the details related to “running the show” can be very distracting and consuming.

OA: What's next for Jennifer Davis?
JD: I had two big shows in the past 8 months here and here and now that they are finished I am looking forward to locking myself up in my studio and doing some experimenting. I want to take some time to play around without as many deadlines. I am planning a show at Cerasoli Gallery later in 2008.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JD: Yes. Home brewed coffee- any kind, all day, everyday.

OA: Do you listen to music while you paint? Who are a few of your favorites?
JD: My studio is in my home and my BF has a little recording studio in our basement. Our house is full of music.

For more information on Jennifer Davis please visit her website.


We are always, always mortal said...

I love everything about this blog.

scott davidson said...

I pondered to myself recently what were the most important things in my life. The answer seems to be clear that art was up there in importance. Why? Frankly, I don't really know. May be someone here can enlighten me?
As was my wont w
hen I have some free time, I browsed the marvelous site,, where they keep thousands of digital images for customers to select to have printed into handsome canvas prints for their homes.
This image jumped out to jolt my reveries: Still life with bread, by the Cubist Georges Braque. Is art like this picture, as essential as bread and water, or should I say bread and wine?