Mark Davis is a Boston-based artist who creates three-dimensional kinetic sculpture, including free-standing, wall-mounted and hanging mobiles. His work is known throughout the United States and beyond. Last spring Davis joined the Maine Art Hill family.
We are lucky enough to have permission to share an interview Davis did with M. Sebastian Araujo, the director, and founder of the Montgomery Center for the Arts in Montgomery, VT
From Mark Davis’s interview with M. Sebastian Araujo …
Sometimes amid the flurry of life, one finds something that stirs the imagination the Mobile Art of Mark Davis did that for me…Recently while he was installing a show, we had a chance to have a chat about what stirs his imagination.
What, in the “big world around you,” affects your creativity?
That is an easy answer for me….the world of nature. For whatever reason, I am in awe of the world of nature in all its forms. Organic shape comes naturally to me as a language to discover and develop. Also, this includes the idea of human nature. Truthful human nature. My work is always about joyful expression, but it is not a shallow surface discourse. It incorporates the deeper tensions of being alive in your body
What changes do you see on the art scene today…?
It seems to me there are two ideas going on. There is a sense of art as a commodity, and a sense of art as a continuing conversation, an ideal of human expression that travels through time and space. Art as a commodity is something invented by a business-minded community to show art as a concept to be purchased. The concept is all important, and the execution is superfluous. With the kind of art I make, the artist goes about expressing a concept through formal methods of honing his craft and finding more and more ways to discover what is in himself and how to get that out into the world in a beautiful, provocative way. In terms of how I view this divide, I say let the idiots spend their millions of dollars on a pine board with a blue line painted on it, and let me continue on my path.
What do you think makes a person want to acquire art?
Honestly, art is such a subjective thing. All art is not made for all people. You should expose yourself to all kinds of art and decide what speaks to you the most fully. The art historian Kenneth Clark said that when you first lay eyes on a wonderful work of art, it “sings.” It should be for the love of what you are seeing.
Was there a “shining lightbulb” moment in your career when you realized you were an artist? If so what was it?
It took me many, many years to think of myself as an artist. For 15 years, I was a high fashion jeweler, which was more of a commodity and less intimidating to me. I had a moment when I was 14 years old when I was in the library and found a book on Alexander Calder. Opening that book was like a shock wave going through my system. I went home, studied the book and its images, then went to the hardware store and bought sheet aluminum and steel wire. I then made a copy of Calder’s “Snowflakes” mobile exactly the way it looked in the book. I just had that total understanding of what he was doing. I used Duco glue to cement the wire to the circles. It was hanging over my parents’ bed when it all started to fall apart, and they were slowly rained on by little white circles!
How hard is it for an artist to survive in the world we live in today?
Honestly, it is awfully difficult to make a career out of making art, but perhaps it always has been. You use the word “survive” and to me you mean to make a living. I have been extremely lucky in my life to have people who believed in me and gave me opportunity and wisdom. Just being able to make a living doing my work has allowed me to keep working at my craft, always trying new ways of expanding the basic concepts that I employ.
We here at Maine Art Hill are thrilled to be representing Davis. Please visit The Work at Studios on Maine Art Hill at 5 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk to see our entire collection of Davis’s mobiles.
Can’t make it to Kennebunk? Click this link to see our collection of his work online. Mark Davis- Artist Page.