Works on LPP
★ MEET Nβ GREET ★
Jess Wheaton interviews Christopher Davison.
1. How old are you and where are you currently living? How does your location contribute to who you are at this time and the work you make, if it does? What’s your favorite thing about your town?
I’m 29 and Live in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a great city for artists because it’s cheap and slightly out of control. You don’t always get to see the pretty side of life here but it has it’s own energy and hearty reality. As I bike across town each day I see plenty of homeless people, garbage blowing around in front of City Hall, and a wide variety of dilapidated buildings. While this might not sound ideal, I feel as if I am sometimes living in one of those Brueghel paintings. In one part of the painting there is a drunk peeing on a tree. In another part a fight is breaking out. In another part children are playing games in the street and two lovers seated nearby are kissing. But when you climb up to a rooftop and take it all in as a whole there is something oddly inspiring about it. I believe it’s the kind environment that artists can really feed off of. I feel as if I do. My call to other artists: MOVE HERE!
2. You’ve risen through the art education system and come out with an MFA in printmaking. Can you somehow describe the whole of this experience in a couple sentences, and theorize what the un-art-schooled you might be up to in some parallel universe right now? Any thoughts on the "art world" and your place in it?
I was fortunate to study with Robert Rivers as an undergraduate student. He was the person who lit the fire under my ass and got me thinking about drawing in a more passionate way than I ever had before. This led me down a path of constant exploration and searching. A passion for travel developed and ultimately this led me to apply to the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia because they had a study abroad program that lasted one year. I spent the first year of my MFA in Rome and it was an incredible and formidable experience. Beyond providing me with the ability to immerse myself in another culture for a year, grad school connected me with amazing people I would have never otherwise met and taught me how "professional" artists were supposed to network, apply for grants and find teaching jobs. The un-art-schooled me would be similar but less aware about such "professional" topics. As far as the art wold goes, well it’s an odd phenomenon. Probably too lengthy of a topic to go into right now!
3. In your description of your ongoing project In Love with the Devil, you say "Central themes seem to hover around issues including government corruption, superficiality, the decline of education, the decline of culture, rise of relgious fanatiscm and belief in the supernatural, moral decay and the return to animal nature, celebrity worship, military aggression, obesity and over consumption, the arrogant and selfish, and the destruction of our environment." Are you driven to make work relating to these themes because they pervade Western society and fill your head, or as a creative reaction against these dark forces, or both or neither?
I’ve been tempted to remove the description from that series or at least update it. I honestly thought I was done with those drawings but over the last couple months new work for that series has started up again. I think the description of that work can really be applied to many of my drawings but I wanted a particular aesthetic and technical unity with those works. However I have changed a lot as a person since I wrote that statement and my art has changed as well. Therefore it is likely I will end up changing it around soon. Finally those ideas were tainted in large part by the 8 horrible years of having Bush as president. I’m hopeful the next 4 or 8 will be better.
4. Where does your content for a specific piece arrive from? Do you plan a work beforehand? Does your figuration more often represent specific people, or ideas about people? Do you have working rituals or sources of knowledge that inform your process?
Here is an excerpt of my artist statement that deals directly with your question: My interest in religious iconography and universal concepts such as life, death, love, and sorrow become intertwined with my personal narrative. The result fuses together my tangible, day-to-day existence with the metaphysical. Because the work develops slowly over the course of weeks, months, or years, the specific figures and landscapes depicted contain a strong element of transfiguration and metamorphosis. One figure that develops over the course of a month may contain a history of many disparate ideas, emotions and processes that work collectively to form a new whole. I am interested in how a subject reveals itself over time rather than how that subject looks during any particular moment.
5. What’s a typical day like for you, what pays the bills, and what would you change about that equation if you could? And lastly, what are you most excited about right now?
I teach as an adjunct professor at 2 universities here in town and I do some extra freelance design work to help cover all the bills. I was selling art when the economy was better and that helped as well. Honestly I wouldn’t change much about the equation. I like teaching and I like the way a work schedule forces me to organize my time. A little bit more money wouldn’t hurt but I’m sure a lot of people right now are saying the exact same thing.
Thanks again Christopher for being a part of Little Paper Press.
β β β greetings β β β
The head of the familial stamp exhibits the eagle, snake and unicorn. Previously the exploits were caught in merit but increasingly they were shown gleaming in the blackest fret. On paper the themes may be extraordinarily enacted for better brevity than possibly traveled. Best influences may be required for further display while overarching heresies loom indignant on the plot.
Always wishing you the best,