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Israel Davis showcases artwork, inspiration at Artist Talk


Israel Davis spoke of the inspiration for his newest ceramic as Central Michigan University students and faculty members passed around the porcelain airplane statue.

“Airplanes have often been involved in my work for a number of years," the Grand Rapids-based artist said. "It’s really a symbol of childhood and innocence.”

Davis showcased his projects, both old and new, in front of roughly 30 people at during a Feb. 16 Artist Talk presentation in Wightman Hall Room 142.

A former teacher at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Davis has worked with photography, video, ceramics and more to create his art.

Art Gallery Director Anne Gochenour introduced Davis as "an artist, educator, musician, BMX biker, and skateboarding enthusiast who lives and works in Grand Rapids.”

Besides creating art, Davis also operates a small business called Fundamental Formative Arts. Davis said he and his cousin, who broke his neck in a BMX bicycle accident — design T-shirts, skateboards, and other apparel.

“For me, the skateboarding and BMX biking is about community. It’s about creativity. It’s about being active.” Davis said. “Oftentimes skateboarding and BMX biking is seen as simply a kid’s thing — but to me —it’s not. It’s about creativity, (and) a lot of (my) artwork is directly inspired by it.”

Davis also spoke of his love for music.

“Music is a form of release for me,” He said. “I am a musician, but I don’t necessarily consider myself a performer because for me music is very personal.”

Davis showed photos and videos of his home studio, which is where he creates all his work. The studio featured kilns for his ceramics, a music area, and even an area for skateboarding.

“I do ceramic work so I’ve seen his work before," said senior Brandon Vanwormer. "So I definitely thought it was interesting to hear him talk about (ceramics) and the work he does.”