We are incredibly pleased to announce an Interview with an artist and educator Alonzo J. Davis on July 17th, 2021. The interview was conducted by Cheryl Edwards and Isabel Manalo in Davis’ studio. We are thrilled to feature Alonzo J. Davis, an African American artist and academic known for co-founding the Brockman Gallery in Los Angeles with his brother Dale Brockman Davis.
Alonzo J. Davis, born in 1942. Davis comes from three generations of educators; both of his parents, as well as his two grandparents were college professors. Davis’ career as an artist span four decades. A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Davis moved with his family to Los Angeles in his early teens. After acquiring an undergraduate degree at Pepperdine College, he earned an MFA in Printmaking and Design at Otis Art Institute. Influenced early on by the assemblage artists, Davis soon took wing and began to experiment with a variety of mediums, techniques, and themes. At the suggestion of artist and former professor, Charles White, Davis began to produce prints and paintings in series. (“Alonzo Davis – Fisher Art Gallery”)
Davis’ art choices and world views have been inspired by travel. (“Alonzo Davis Artist”) Through travel, he seeks influences, cultural centers, energies, new terrain, and the power of both the spoken and unspoken. (“2011 — Elsewhere Studios”) The magic of the Southwest United States, Brazil, Haiti, and West Africa has penetrated his work. Southern California, his home for thirty years, has also had an indelible impact and the colors and rhythms of the Pacific Rim continue to infiltrate.
While he was inspired by travel to Africa, the Caribbean and American Southwest—the colors and patterns of the Pacific Rim cultures also seeped into Davis’ artwork. During the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Davis’ involvement in the California mural movement culminated with the 1984 Olympic Murals project. “His Eye on ’84” is one of ten murals on the walls of the downtown Los Angeles Harbor Freeway. His current mural work involved the 2021 mural restoration/ Homage to John Outterbridge.
Davis has created art for exterior and interior spaces—both large and small scale. Works range from free-standing and suspended sculptures to wall and floor installations. Bamboo, wood and paper, layered color and burned-in patterns are my hallmarks and whenever LED light elements are integrated in the composition or for a backlit effect. (“Sculpture Now (Emily Hoxworth Hager) – McLean Project for …”)
Alonzo Davis’ legacy includes an artist residency program in Kentucky, titled A.I.R. Studio Paducah, which is in its 17th year. Davis also has a residency scholarship in his name awarded to African and Latin American artists. This residency is located at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, located in Charlottesville, Virginia and titled the Alonzo Davis Fellowship.