Dexter Davis

(1965 - )

Archived in 2020

Biography

“For a long time I thought of it as just a hobby, and I thought, if I did go to school for something like art it would be some kind of applied art: illustrations, layouts, industrial design, or something like that. Over the years I kept running away from art but it kept coming back to me. I would go full circle and would come right back to where I started, making art again. It was a release I needed because of my background and the different things I had experienced. When you get into situations and it gets really bad you need to find some place where you can go to clear your mind. You have to find something, and I realize that my art was the thing that saved me. It was that room where nothing could get inside but me. It helped me a lot.”[1]

“[In my art] I used the bones, the teeth, maybe some hair. And I used my own hair and my own teeth. Whenever one fell out I would use it. I really wanted to make these things alive.”[2] “It’s definitely about an idea of spirituality; it’s definitely connected with religion. But it’s a spontaneous thing that you feel. I’ve been educated as an artist – I went to the Cleveland Institute of Art – but there are no rules to it. It’s an instinct, you just know when it’s right – when you activate an energy force and make something alive. Sometimes it’s a very simple thing to do, sometimes it can take forever to get there; you do whatever it takes. I’m like a shaman. It’s taking my energy and transferring it into the work.”[3]

 

[1] Dexter Davis, quoted in Henry Adams, “Dexter’s Parents” in Dexter Davis: A Portrait, (Shaker Heights, Ohio: Lawrence Waldman Fine Arts, 2016), 15.

[2] Dexter Davis, quoted in Henry Adams, “The Ritual Series 1993” in Dexter Davis: A Portrait, (Shaker Heights, Ohio: Lawrence Waldman Fine Arts, 2016), 29.

[3] Dexter Davis, quoted in Henry Adams, “New Birth 1997” in Dexter Davis: A Portrait, (Shaker Heights, Ohio: Lawrence Waldman Fine Arts, 2016), 39.