In conversation with Ocad University sculpture and installation student Lily Davis.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest in the arts?
My journey really started when I went to university and was in a programme that was totally wrong for me. I grew up studying academics and was never in the art scene until about three years ago. I spent most of my life not understanding that I was a creative person. I was confused for a long time, and it took being extremely unhappy with myself and my life for me to begin painting. Once I started creating, my life completely changed; I met people who actually understood me and I feel so much happier with myself.
Do you use a sketchbook?
I use a sketchbook but not religiously. I use it whenever I’m feeling experimental or if I’m just relaxing listening to music or watching a show. In the past I have always just gone straight to a canvas and let it all pour out onto there. I find that when I plan an idea in a sketchbook it doesn’t have the same feelings/emotions as when I just go straight onto the canvas with no thoughts prior. My sketchbook is really a place for mindless doodling and experimentation. By using it as a place to vent my brain I’m able to loosen up and release a bunch of pent-up emotions that I hold onto.
Can you talk about influences upon your work?
I am really inspired by construction and scraps that are left behind, and my immediate surroundings. I really love the dirty mess of construction, and how chaotic it seems. My grandfather was a construction worker and I use a lot of his old materials and tools to create my pieces. I have old construction crayons, pens and pencils that I use. I use his old power tools to create texture in my pieces. I’m intrigued by history and I want every aspect of my pieces to be a part of my history or someone else’s. All of the magazines that I use are from the 80’s and 90’s and I’ve found them on the side of the road or people have given them to me. All of those magazines have their own history that I will never know, and that is so intriguing to me.
I am also inspired by a lot of mixed-media artists online that I have stumbled upon. The first one is Taylor White; he is an amazing mixed-media artist that really thinks outside the box and creates these amazing, unique pieces.
Can you talk about your process?
There is no set pattern or process that I stick to. I am a very spur-of-the-moment, emotionally driven artist who paints at 6 am or 12 pm. Sometimes I don’t sleep for days and all I do is paint, and sometimes I don’t paint for days and I sleep a lot. It also depends on how busy I am with school and work, because the busier I am the more productive and motivated I am. I usually try to create something every day, whether it’s a photo, collage, painting or some sort of musical piece. I am working towards combining all my different mediums to create a huge collection of pieces.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic?[I am] interested in the relationship of the artist to their work patterns and environment.
The process of creating is extremely therapeutic and stress-relieving in my opinion. Having said that, it can also be stressful if it is something I am making for someone else or for my classes. When it is just me in the studio with no other people/classes hindering my thoughts I am able to let loose and not overthink the process. That is when I am happiest and less anxious. When I am making something for someone else I have to think about what they want and I feel pressured by their expectations and wanting to meet them. I do try to continuously work on pieces, slowly adding to them over a period of weeks, sometimes months. A piece is finished only when it feels finished, and I don’t base that feeling on the time it took me to finish it.