Interview with Impressionist Drew Davis

INTERVIEW WITH DREW DAVIS


CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU?

My name is Drew Davis.  I'm an impressionistic, professional oil painter based on the beautiful Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo (aka SLO).  I am primarily a self taught, I love to cook, dance the Lindy Hop and listen to gypsy jazz.


WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER ART, OR REALIZE YOU WANTED TO MAKE IT YOURSELF?

Ive been making as long as I can remember.
When I was 15 I discovered painting. Once I got my brushes into the colors, I felt the freedom that paints had to offer. They were forgiving, they were alive and gave me joy and freedom to express without fear. I loved it. I dove head-first into my craft. It was my joyful escape. Every time I went into my studio (the old wooden shed on our 5 acre ranch) I felt like there was endless possibility. I loved to experiment with how the different colors, shapes and textures would make me feel. Drips, splashes, swirls of vivid colors engulfed the once plain white canvases with life, emotion and joy.  It was my only escape from the dramas of my teenage years.


WHAT IDEAS ARE YOU EXPLORING IN YOUR PRACTICE?

Is there a theme you are currently addressing? How has your practice changed in the last months/years?

I am in love with the freedom of abstract but I am currently exploring slightly more representational contemporary work. Though I've been an artist for 18+ years, I've only recently gotten back into it and have a fresh pair of eyes after several years of hiatus. My style over the last years has been fairly consistent, but has tightened up a bit to include more recognizable subject matter.


WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS LIKE?

Do you do any research, or plan anything in advance? How long do pieces typically take to complete? How many do you work on at one time? What themes or ideas are you interested in?


For most of my work I enjoy the freedom of not having a goal in mind and play freely with shape and color on the canvas. This is the foundation of my painting that I can then build on and develop either naturally (without forethought) or start to pull reference photos to work out the subject. The length of time it takes to complete varies from piece to piece however my "rule of thumb" is I generally work on something no less than 3 sessions. Each "session" could be between 1 and 3 hours or so. I work on many pieces at one time. I have usually 5 - 10 pieces in progress at any given time. How I begin may not have a lot of impact on how I finish.


DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR, OR A PIECE OF ADVICE (OR BOTH), WHICH HAS INFLUENCED YOUR PRACTICE?

Is there any advice that you've received in the past that you're grateful you chose to ignore?

One of the best bits of advice an artist told me about painting was "If you have to ask a a question, the answer is YES!" for example: "is this too much black? -- the answer is yes." We are our own worst and best critic.


WHAT IS YOUR STUDIO LIKE?

I am very lucky to be working out of an old, semi-fixed-up mobile home on the side of a hill with (nearly) an ocean view. :) Paint is everywhere. concrete floors.

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST DAUNTING, CHALLENGING, OR FRUSTRATING ABOUT PURSUING ART?

I'm sure I'm not alone in the frustration of making art into a business. Though I've been showing and selling for over 18 years, its a constant struggle to be pulled in all of the directions I need to go: artist, framer, graphic designer, marketer, bookkeeper, quality control, public relations, sales, etc... the list goes on. Though at times it seems overwhelming-- it is what I love. I have peace about it all because I know it is what I am meant to be doing.


WHAT ARE THREE WORDS YOU WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?

Vibrant, Loose, Impressionistic

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

This Last year I began to teach acrylic painting art workshops, which have been such a joy and a great outlet for me. It is a break from constantly focusing on myself and a way to give back to others. This has been a big key for me as an artist. I love to see how I can help others break out of themselves to explore other parts, and show them what the are truly capable of. My favorite part is seeing the joy they feel when when they've made something they are really happy with-- but initially doubted. So good.


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