Interview with Rebecca Davidson
O-A: What is art to you? Is creating an urge, necessity or maybe an incontournable, essential way of life?
Rebecca Davidson: Art, to me, is a way of expressing and escaping from life. I create because my thoughts and emotions are too much to contain and paint is my native language. I’ve experimented with different mediums but nothing feels more natural than a brush in my hand.
O-A: Can you describe your latest series, what sort of themes does it involve?
Rebecca Davidson: Lately my work has been highly intuitive and fuses Wabi-Sabi with the Western Tradition by combining compositional diagonals and formal aspects with intuitive paint application in an explosion of gesture and motion.
In general my work speaks to the human condition and the understanding that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Lately I have been exploring the desire to be accepted, appreciated, and understood. Additional concepts and themes such as connection, hope, love, trust, and healing emerged organically. Naturally these positive ideas give way to their opposites: fear, desperation, and isolation. And ultimately this combination of ideas and concepts gave way to the words “rarity” and “communication”.
O-A: Who or what inspired you artistically; a person, artist, event, experience…
Rebecca Davidson: I am highly influenced by the performing arts but especially music. As a former dancer and choreographer music moves my body and my soul, both of which I use to paint. I usually create a unique playlist for each series, but sometimes each painting, and allow the rhythm to direct my body and the resulting marks I make on the canvas. As an actor I love the emotions music can evoke and how a song and a painting can tell a story; yes, even if it’s an abstract work. And obviously as a singer music resonates with me on a deeply personal, even spiritual level.
O-A: What is a vivid memory of a remark concerning your art that got stuck with you?
Rebecca Davidson: I almost quit making art when I was seven years old because of a cruel remark by an art teacher. My mother had signed me up for after-school drawing classes at a local art school and it was an all ages class. I wanted so badly to draw realistically and had worked diligently on this lion for my class all week. My teacher said it was “cartoon-y and childish” and it completely crushed me.
There is a happy ending to this story though! Thankfully, my mother immediately pulled me out of that program and found a highly creative local multi-media artist who also taught children all kinds of art with an encouraging spirit. I ended up studying with her at least once a week and in summer camps for several years. Miss Sheila taught me so many important lessons, but the primary one was this: “the process is the goal.” I have taken that thread of wisdom with me in all aspects of life, not just creatively.
O-A: Who would you say are your biggest influences?
Rebecca Davidson: I love the Impressionists but I don’t paint like them, so it’s strange to count them amongst my influences, but I do. As a contemporary abstract expressionist Franz Kline, Elaine de Kooning, Wassily Kandinsky, and Lee Krasner have obviously been hugely influential upon my work. I think my experience as a musical theatre performer and jazz singer are also quite impactful when it comes to my aesthetic and creative spirit too. I am also heavily influenced by street art and the urban landscape. I also find a lot of work I like and that makes me feel inspired by other emerging and mid-career artists on instagram.
O-A: Do you have any exciting art news to share?
Rebecca Davidson: Yes, I do! Just this week I found out that the UK publication Artist Portfolio Magazine has featured two of my paintings in their 10 Year Anniversary issue, which is available in hard copy or as a digital download. My work is toward the end of Volume Three. I also found out that I am carrying a 4.0 GPA at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where I am working toward my MFA in Painting.
Interview with Rebecca Davidson; 23.11.2020