“I enjoy the act of taking images apart to create new ones….the possibilities are endless and the end result is always surprising.”
Donovan G. Davis
Donovan Davis is a professional contemporary artist living in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) with over a decade of experience dedicated to his practice of hand-cut and hand-constructed collage art.
Davis deconstructs magazine images and appropriates their content for use in unexpected artistic configurations including profiles, silhouettes and other stunning yet unexpected compositions. While the process may seem like a simple exercise of cutting and pasting, the transformed media offers a provocative and captivating piece of artwork.
The perspective in the images that Davis produces are both plural and ambiguous. The resulting effect is the creation of an intensely imaginative realm where consciousness gives way to the subconscious. The viewer is led down a path of self-discovery slowly becoming aware that what they see is actually HOW they see.
Davis has amassed an extensive portfolio from his artistic obsession, increasingly pulling the viewer into an artistic realm that has his unmistakable signature all over it. His pursuit of these artistic practices is fueled by his interest in exploring the endless possibilities of creative expression that lie before him; as well as the invitation he presents to the viewer to join him on this journey.
Davis has two books published of his works which are part of the permanent collection in the National Library of Canada and Archives Canada. His works can be found in many private collections and global luxury hospitality establishments.
All Davis’ work is intentionally “Untitled” as a commentary against labeling, compartmentalization and classification…as they say, “the art speaks for itself”.
What country are you from and where do you live?
I am originally from Jamaica but I have been living in Toronto (Canada) for the last 35 years.
Some companies I have worked with:
GZ ART Co. Art Consultant, Grace Zeppilli. Supplying works for Bisha Hotel (Toronto), and Clio Private Members Club (Toronto).
JAMES ROBETSON | JR ART INTERNATIONAL Art Consultants (Toronto | London UK) Supplying art for The Hazelton Hotel (Toronto ), and The Londoner Hotel (UK)
PAULA HIMMEL DESIGN INC. Interior Designer (Toronto) Supplying art for private client in Shangri-La Hotel (Toronto)
STUDIO PYRAMID | PYRAMID ARCHITECT Supplying art for private clients.
I am currently managed and represented by Highness Global Inc. Artist Management – Amana Manori (Toronto)
Education background (art school, photography class, self taught)?
I have a BA in film and Photography from Ryerson University but my collage obsession started after graduation.
What is your signature style/artistic expression to your work?
I have never thought about my style, but I am most inspired by glamour photography and iconic images of women. I used to use my own photographs but now I work with editorial photography primarily from fashion magazines.
I enjoy the act of taking images apart to create new ones….the possibilities are endless and the end result is always surprising. It is exciting to not know what it will look like in the end and realizing that the possibilities are limitless. This is what inspires and drives me to create even more. It is like a self-fueling energy cycle: curiosity, expansion, realization, creation that ends in the culmination of something brand new; something I could have never imagined at the outset but always believed it could. This is what lies at the core of my self confidence. To trust and believe in the unknown. In the end, it will make itself known. This is what propels and excites me.
Do you have a career turning point or big break that has helped your career?
I think breaking into the hospitality market was a big turning point for me – I have works in The Bisha, The Londoner, Clio and The Hazelton Hotel. When I secured Bisha, at that time I thought nothing of it as I had not expected where it would lead me. Having said that, I believe my career is turning as we speak and will continue to do so.
What was your scariest and proudest moment in your career?
The scariest moment of my career was not exactly scary but very stressful. I had to make fourteen original collages in six weeks. Hardly enough time but I knew I could do it. And I did. The added stress was feeling like the time pressure would not allow me to create my best work, which I like to do.
I don’t have a sense of pride around my work or my career. My feelings are neutral – it is just what I do and have been doing for twenty years and what comes from that is my art. My excitement itself comes from the process of creating the art itself. So, I suppose I am proudest when I impress myself and create something I had no idea I was capable of.
What is next for your career goals?
I am exploring other mediums, scale and audiences such as public and commercial spaces.
I go wherever my work takes me. It shows me the way forward.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your business?
Do exactly what you like and it will always be your best.