Once again, we are thrilled to collaborate with artist Tim Davis for our 2017 Celebration of Service campaign.
We see in Mr. Davis’ work the hundreds of residents we help each year—vulnerable yet with great potential to thrive—if only given a fair shake or a second chance. In real life, and with the help of our supporters, we can bring justice to all. Please Donate
Artist, teacher, and owner of International Visions Gallery and Consultants—Tim Davis is recognized for his use of mixed media materials that explore narratives as seen through the interactions of stylized figures, mysterious portraits, and unconventional environments. Watch a brief video interview and learn more about his life and work below.
A concern for the human experience, and the black experience.
Your work feels very personal and yet at the same time seems to speak to larger societal issues. Do you consider yourself a social justice artist?
“Everything I do has a meaning and a statement that I hope is conveyed through my work. I am trying to bring injustice to light. Things that are not right. So yes, I’m a social justice artist. More now than ever.”
On the Surviving Men series: Dignity
Davis examines the state of double consciousness and how we see ourselves through the eyes of others. Stigmas, acceptance, misjudgments, even discrimination, consume our thoughts and actions as we strive to be true to our self, culture, race, and identity. In Dignity, truth prevails. Davis states,
“The figure in the painting is proud and stands tall amidst the problems, the racism, the deceit, the constant attack. This man is not let letting go. He is surviving under impossible odds.”
In his recent Black Box Series, Davis constructs mixed media sculptural boxes and relief paintings on cabinets. The United States (rather than an individual) is the main character in this piece that speaks to the housing crisis of 2008, which ruined a lot of lives of people he knew.
“The narratives are my interpretations and reactions to issues that touch us every day. I want to speak out on affordable housing, immigration, the penal system, migration, political issues, and the many stories that make America, America.”
“Family is very important to me. This is a childhood memory of sharing the only bike in a 1950s black neighborhood in Chicago.”
“Through art I tried to give my students the gift of art to express themselves—even make a living of it. For some, art has helped them get through the day, the week…it has helped them grasp something, and to get past everything else. It’s wonderful to see.”
The Growing Up Series
Davis works with kids who are at a stage when they are making decisions. Many feel that they cannot dream big. This series is about the uncertainty of life for young black men, in and out of the jail system and school, and not knowing where they were going to go.
“I often wonder about their journey and the hopes and dreams that can be easily deferred in society today. The work is based on real people. This young man does not bear his face, but his spirit and soul are very much there.”
Tito was a student and close friend of the artist who died of accidental gun fire. The painting is an homage to keeping his spirit alive.
“Tito was at the cross roads of having a life on the street or not a life on the street. I tried to talk to him about a lot of different things. Unfortunately, he is no longer here and it really broke my heart. We were almost there.”
“You do not know who these men are or who they may become. To me, they have a soul that is more important than a frown or a smile. The mystery, I hope, will spur the viewer to reflect and become a part of the interaction.”
Davis attended the Million Man March (October 16, 1995) with his two sons who were teenagers at the time. He will never forget marching with 900,000 black men—many of whom were fathers and sons as well. The painting is a remembrance of that historic day and its message of strength and respect for others.
Tim, where can we find you five years from now?
“I don’t know if I’ll be DC or overseas, but I’ll definitely be working…full time in the studio. I have a lot more to say.”
In October 2016 Davis’ work appeared in an exhibition entitled It Takes a Nation: Art for Social Justice at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.
Please view his work and contact him via his website here.