Saturday, January 7, 2017

Five Minutes with Sharon Davis: From Jersey Girl to West Coast Artist

My high school art classes with Mr. Sebes at Bridgewater-Raritan West in Central New Jersey were therapeutic for me. The atmosphere was loose, often accompanied by the sounds of Simon & Garfunkel, whose songs resonated with alienated youth, of which I was one. Sharon Davis was a fellow student there. Upon graduation, most of us were scattered with the wind, replanted elsewhere and blooming where planted.

By means of a an eNewsletter many of our classmates learned of one another's whereabouts, social media removing yet another barrier to making connections if so desired. It is a truly remarkable era in which we live.

Upon noticing recently that Sharon was now a West Coast artist, I thought it might be fun to learn more about her journey and share some of her work reflecting the spirit of the times we grew up in.

EN: Describe your life journey as an artist.

Sharon Davis: My mother was a storybook illustrator but gave it up to raise children, so art was always a part of my life. After school I was married, had children and my own priorities shifted. I ran a successful business with my ex-husband, but art remained in my life even if it was in the background. I originally painted in oils but changed that to acrylic because of the the convience of the drying time. With children I couldn't leave my pieces out in the open long enough to dry.

My home was my canvas, the wallpaper, painting the walls, decorating, refinishing furniture etc. I am a great re-purpose artist and use many household items in my artwork or installation pieces.

I retired 2 years ago and have relocated back to the Morongo Basin in California. This desert area is surrounded by beautiful mountains and attracts many artists of all mediums. Here I have developed my art, my studio and my life. I have pieces in several galleries and gift shops. I am Secretary of the Art Colony of Morongo Valley, as well as a member of the La Quinta Art Association and Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. I also participate yearly in the Hwy 62 Art Tours.

EN: How did art become such a meaningful activity for you?

SD: Art had always been a meaningful activity to me. I always created Christmas presents, and used art time creating things to relax and to re-boost. It's simply in my DNA and I know no other way to live. Now my whole house is a piece of art with paper bag floors, a CD back splash, and a mosaic wall made from beer caps.

EN: What have you learned about yourself as a result of your art-making?

SD: I learned I have a passion for life, and my creative abilities like to grow and experiment with different arts and crafts. This allows my personality to adapt to all the different people I meet along the way. My kids say I am a hippie; maybe I still am.

EN: I see that you went to Desert Trip. Can you summarize what we missed?

SD: What can I say but WOW! This line up was the next best thing to Woodstock '69! My son gave me the tickets as a gift. It was 3 days of such enjoyment and fantasy rolled up into one. I've see Sir Paul a few times and he has never disappointed, he speaks to the audience constantly and his very humble and gracious. I think the only songs I can sing along with in entirety are the Beatles. Neil Young was as political as even, such an entertainer. He showed support for the "Water Protectors " at Standing Rock, had 5 teepees on his stage. I hold this dear to heart since I practice Native American rites, songs and ceremonies. The STONES ROCK! Their voices were right on and their energy was unbelievable! Jagger was outstanding and Keith, hum, Keith, what can I say, no words could explain what he radiates on stage. The WHO were humorous, and responded to the audience with enthusiasm and humor. Roger Waters simply IS Pink Floyd! This was weekend one, Bob Dylan was not at his best, his voice was off, camera angles were at a distance and after 15 mins his image (by his request) was removed from the BIG SCREEN, and he never spoke once to the audience.. We didn't know when he finished, everyone just sat back and played with their phones. I think everyone there loved Dylan, all his precious work and dynamics of his words and songs. No one cared his voice was off, or the camera angle was bad, or even that he didn't talk to the audience but the disconnect from the audience visually was extremely disappointing for everyone. The venue spoke to him and it was different the second weekend.

EN: Who have been your biggest influences as an artist? As a person?

SD: My children have been a big influence and very supportive. If I tell them to save bottles, bottle caps, or tin can lids they go with the flow. They have picked up my art from gallery shows and surpised me with art supplies.

Mr. Sebes my High School art teacher was also a great influence. What I have on my side is my creativity and he saw that. I can not copy the great masters but my mind has a need to explore and create and he saw that and put me on a level of those that I felt always had more talent.

EN:: Hey, thanks for sharing a bit of yourself here!

Meantime... life goes on all around us. Make the most of it.


Joe Sebes said...

It is heart warming to see and hear of your successful life in art.
I am humbled by your gracious referral to any possible influence that my art classes might have had.
Someone once said, "One who works with their hands is called a laborer.
One who works with their hands and their head is called a craftsman. And one who works with their hands, their head and their heart is called an artist."
It is an honor to call you a fellow artist.

Ed Newman said...

Than you for reaching out across the years. I trust you are well. Do you have a place where I can see more of your work. Many really fond memories of your class. As someone from back in the day once sang, "What a long strange trip it's been."

Anonymous said...

Love you Mr. Sebes!