Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Artist Profile: Blaire Alyssa Davies

Just so you know, Instagram is not only for the selfie generation; it's also a great social platform for launching the career of under-the-radar artists and offering the world an innovative new way to access art. 
Once upon an artist, it was a slow and often un-eventful journey to reach the masses (and critics attention) - now thanks to hashtags like #instaart #instaartist #instaarthub and #instaartoftheday - painters and digital art creatives now have their own virtual gallery or space in which to act as the creator, the curator and the dealer, while followers become the visitors, the critics and the collectors - all in real time #instantly. 

One of the many artists / photographers I follow on my own Instagram account is LA-based Blaire Alyssa Davies - a talent who first caught my attention with her emotionally complex series of work, focusing on the inner depths of the human psyche and the way in which we connect with one another - resulting in bold and often mind-bending yet hauntingly fragile compositions. 

From pieces entitled 'Your Blood Runs Deep' and 'The Hand That Feeds You' to 'Salvage' and 'Childhood Moments' - her visual narrative poses the question, couldn’t everyone’s life just become a work of art....?

You knew you wanted to be an artist when….

The term artist is so loosely used today, so I look at myself as a creative creator. As far as I can remember, I have always had a pen or pencil in hand, doodling on class lecture notes, binders, and taking as many art classes as possible in High School. 
The true development of my artistic side bloomed when the man who raised me gave me his Nikon FM2 at age 15 - I fell madly in love with the process of film, shadow play, and negative space and I only shot in black and white. However, I put photography on hold while at College and I thought a career in the music industry was my “type of creative fulfilment” - I was dead wrong [laughs]. I soon realised I needed a change in order to push my creative itch, which brings me to where I am.

Your work fuses elements of darkness and melancholy - it’s very mood affecting and reflecting. What’s going on in your mind when you create?

Great question. Most of the time when I paint, I have my music blasting. I just let my hand feel the brush as it moves violently on the paper. I will take a second, bob my head, and continue creating whatever comes naturally to me. Sometimes I am upset when I paint, sometimes I am confused, and sometimes I am so energetic I just want to throw paint all over the paper. I always find whatever I end up creating, there is a sense of relief at the end, as if something has been released in me. I FEEL ALIVE.

Was there a particular moment or experience that defined your aesthetic? 

Yes there was. I had an extremely emotional week and was listening to Nine Inch Nails, go figure! I created three mini series from particular lyrics that just kept me questioning and longing for more about what was going on inside Trent Reznor's head. 
When I finally saw what I created, the simple yet complexity of emotion, simple gray scale, and images, I knew at that moment my style was very reflective of how I shoot my photographs. There is something beautiful about black and white images and gray scale with illustrations. They awaken deep emotion that most of us suppress or mask extremely well. My 3 mini series of works express vulnerability and I have learned to not think so much with my work, but just let it organically pour out of me.

So as we all interpret art differently - what do you want people to take away from your work?

I have always been fascinated with how people process their reality. How perception is the factor that defines how we view things; not always what we see is what is actually going on. Having experienced the turmoil of death at such a young age, it impacted my reality significantly and changed my perception of the world and how I act within it. 
I learned very quickly after that how valuable time is. 
My work is a form of my personal therapy. We all have internal battles within ourselves and when we can tap into that darkened place, recognise it, work on it, and grow with it, and expose it to the world, that is the purest form of humanity: connectivity - connecting with yourself, others, and then the world as a whole. 

Do you think it’s important then for artists to have that real connection with people to be able to understand their art and their inner self?

If someone can walk away feeling an emotion (whatever it may be to that person), I feel my work has already connected to that individual. I think we sometimes numb ourselves and suppress what's going on in our heads and my work reveals a state of vulnerability which might act as a sense of relief to that individual. We're all just human after all.

Many artists I've interviewed say music is an influencing factor when in the midst of their creative process - does it act as an inspirational tool for you? 

Yes, music is a huge influence on my work and when I am creating. My range is extremely vast from Tom Petty to Crystal Castles to Chet Faker. I interpret many lyrics and sometimes they become visual parts to my pieces through text. Music plays a huge role in my creative process.

What other physical and digital art are you inspired by? 

When I see physical or digital art in a gallery, I always get excited. When I see something that's never been done before, it just makes me want to go and paint right then and there. I get giddy seeing new works that are so different from mine, because it pushes me to try new things and explore the unknown within myself.

If you were a piece of art, how would you describe yourself?

Bold and rich in colour, composed of many layers revealing the depths of honesty.

And I'm assuming you would be hanging in LA’s Stone Malone Gallery which you manage and are curator for - tell me more about that?

After quitting my job as an Account Manager, I randomly walked into The Stone Malone Gallery, introduced myself to the owner (Stone Malone), and soon realised that he was in need of a change as he wanted someone to flip the gallery into a profitable and working space, or he was going to shut it down. 

I've now been there for almost 8 months and have re-done all the social media outlets, changed the layout of the gallery and helped to create the official website. The gallery has just been blooming and developing non-stop. I couldn’t ask for a better boss, friend, and artistic mentor than Stone. He is truly a gifted artist! I am just thankful to be in the present doing what I love - working in the art industry and creating art.

Which have been your favourite exhibitions / installations you’ve curated for the gallery? 

I don’t have a particular favourite exhibition because each artist has their own style and vision. I learn from each curation what the gallery could do better, such as how we can promote the show or how we could display the art more effectively. With each show we just improve on curating and more artists are wanting to exhibit with us. It’s a great feeling!

Downtown LA’s art & style scene continues to grow, revealing a new wave of avant-garde talent who have a more rebellious spirit than the scene on the East Coast - do you think LA is now the new capital of cool? 

Because I am from Los Angeles, born and raised, I would say the art scene here is very different than the scene on the East Coast; especially with street art. I feel that there are a lot of young and hungry artists out here that want the spotlight. 
When I was in Europe for a month last summer (Paris and London), the art galleries and street art had a very different energy than that of LA. Artists here seem to be more competitive amongst each other, and in Europe it was more about political stances and revealing an edgy yet classy approach to the arts.

So where would you recommend us Londoners check out in LA for the hottest art hang-outs? 

Downtown has a huge street art movement going on. They have their weekly art walk which takes place once a month. Venice Beach always has something going on at Abbott Kinney. I love C.A.V.E Gallery who put on some great shows. I would have to say KNOWN Gallery on Fairfax always has something insane going on. I truly admire what they do there, it's extremely creative.

All Images © Blaire Alyssa Davies

Have you exhibited your own work or do you plan to in future? 

I will be showing my work at the gallery's first group show on July 19th - August 9th. I am extremely excited because we are showing work by artists who either have a huge following, or who are new to the scene. The show is called 'Mod Con' - Modern Conception. It’s a show with a blend of mixed media, raw materials, abstraction and illustrations.

I do plan to show in the future myself and I am currently talking with the owner of several galleries to be part of some group shows. I am just letting things develop organically. I feel when you are hungry you don’t appreciate the meal as much, all the elements and spices get lost. When you develop your work, and let that hunger just sit with you, it translates into your work. 

What’s up next for you?

I am working with Stone to help develop his solo show in August and we have a lot lined up for the gallery. In the meantime, I am just constantly creating on my down time. I just started experimenting with colour and exploring new subject matters - I recently went to a Jack White show and had all these ideas running around in my head about blues and rock and roll culture. 
I am also using new materials and just slowly developing more and more as an artist.

To see more of Blaire's work, check out her website HERE.



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