Meet the artist: Arvin K. Davis Jr.
Current Hometown: Minot, ND
Where can we see your work?
I am struggling to meet the deadline for the upcoming 62 Doors show, but I am no stranger to an all-nighter if needed. But fortunately, or unfortunately, we are in an age with internet. I have a website I share with a good friend of mine, Sean Keeney, under the umbrella name of Little Red Liar, Littleredliar.weebly.com, Facebook, again Little Red Liar. Or if Facebook isn’t your social media platform, I can be found on Instagram screen name: arvin.jrjr.
Do you have work for sale?
I do, but the stock is low at the moment, I only have three framed works left. Well two, I only recently started framing my work. It was a bold maneuver for an artist to make, I know, but the result was almost kinetic; couldn’t be happier. I am in the process of making limited run prints although I haven’t quite made it that far yet. I will have more options in the future beyond just the originals, I promise.
How would you describe your style?
I have been described as intense, aggressive, playful, chaotic. expressionistic would be the adjective that combines, and suits, most of the descriptive words I have been told over the years. I want the viewer to feel. If that feeling, that emotion is contrasting and more intricate than my own… glorious! My aim is to express an emotion or feeling that I am holding onto and want to share in a more positive outlet, usually. The only feeling I get from showing people a rat tapped to a gun is confusion. I know it’s absurd, and that absurdity makes me laugh. I also collaborate with my kids, each of them adds their own touch to our works together. It only gets more interesting as we get older.
Who would you say have been influences on your work?
Now I have been compared Ralph Steadman a lot, but I didn’t find out about him until I was 21- or 22-years-old. My spontaneous, expressionistic style had already started to blossom by then. My favorite painter growing up was Salvador Dali. Most of his paintings I saw, and read about, in art books from the library, basically anything from the 1940s and 1950s. I can just see my little 4th grade self drawing melted clocks all over my papers. I reveled in the distortion of reality; still do. Gentle guidance from art teachers growing up, just meeting other artists is influential, it’s difficult to pin a solitary moment, that ‘eureka you’re going to art this way.’ It’s just an evolution of personality, maturity, artists I enjoy from youth to future. I think most artists struggle with pointing out their influences or maybe I just haven’t met enough and asked them. Maybe I am the anomaly.
Are there particular themes you like to explore in your artwork?
I haven’t been asked in a while what particular paintings mean to me, if they did I more than likely redirected them with a “What do you think?” I am more interested in that. But if they really want to know. I explore quite a few areas. I do a fair amount of research for pieces, usually to be inspired by something I have read along the path of knowledge to dramatically alter the course. Expressing raw emotions, self reflection, or thought stream projected into the physical. A lot of thought streams.
I painted a piece with my daughter called “Cats and Dogs,” my kids name our pieces either after they finish their portion or after it is complete. It depicts a line of cats infuriating a pack of leashed dogs. The cats calm, collected, arrogant even, with these beast-like canines strangling themselves at a possible taste of feline. For me, it represented anything that just stirs up our disregard for personal health or safety. Our inability to subdue that mad dog effect. A mark so deep that we become our own enemy.
What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
My creative process isn’t always fun. I get angry at myself, most of the time to the point that my wife and another artist friend of mine, Ben Daggett, have asked me in paraphrase “Do you even enjoy doing art?” The feeling of relaxation as you hone in on the decided direction after altering the idea several times, even after meticulous planning. Even though I form a plan, most of my work is really free form. It takes shape as I move through it. I’m driving the car but with no end in sight.I put myself into whatever project I am working on, It helps me cope with the unknowns. It allows me to express deep thoughts, emotions, feelings hard to describe spoken or written. I enjoy the learning, gaining technical proficiency so I can wiggle in any direction I please, I still have mountains to learn. There is so much to love about your creative process, though we have similarities, not one is the same and it is fantastic.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a 31-year-old husband and father of three. I have two dogs. I have been doing art since I can remember but only in the past few years have I really concentrated on my passion, given it the care and attention it needs to grow.