Wednesday, February 27, 2008

artist statement

Shelby Davis

I am an artist because I grew up playing in the woods of South Carolina by my self. I definitely did what I wanted so long as I was home for dinner. Now I put more restrictions on myself. Perhaps parameters or challenges are better words than restriction. Either way the kid that built forts is still here. I set up games for myself to play. Sometimes the game is to find the most important details surrounding a person or material or situation and highlight them. Sometimes it is to highlight the complexity of the details. Sometimes the idea is still just to play.

I'm a sculptor because I like touching different types of material and learning to use the tools that manipulate them. I am curious and am always trying to figure out how things work. Many times I have started projects simply by studying how a tool, program, or piece of equipment is most effective. I feel like I am trying to develop a line of questioning that is a mixture of scientific and intuitive. Listening, translating and practicing are important to grasping any answers that come along and I am trying to develop these as a skills.

I have recently been working collaboratively because I like seeing what others bring to the creative process. The input of others brings more layers of meaning for me and adds to the story behind a project's development. It also makes me feel part of a community. I have been facilitating the building of stories based off non fiction and trying to help people tell them in the way that is most interesting to them. Each story is told by a different person and can be heard through your cell phone as you make your way around an exhibition of mixed media vignettes. An element of which is a whittled portrait of the author. I have always learned from a good story and a good storyteller. Loud with emphatic gestures, slow and soft with the perfect descriptions, too many tangents, timing, punch lines, climaxes, and morals, all of it leaves an impression of some sort. What is that?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


so i moved to portland oregon from south carolina for a shift in view. i applied to graduate school and got in. that sealed the deal. there is a ton of stuff that i miss about south carolina. including the dogwoods, the heat, my kin, and words like "kin". i like it in portland and have no interest in puting a length to my stay here. i've made some friends quickly, (i joke about it being like i bought them by going to grad school) the land is breathtaking, and there is an endless amount to do even when money is scarce.
still my parents home in pickens south carolina, and mine for my first eighteen years, will always be the one against all future ones will be measured. my most formative stories come from there. what each of those stories means to me changes often but there are visceral memories that shock the shit out of me with their clarity. the creek i played in as a kid can at times seem real and like i can even hear it a little. all its bends and falls are ones i can walk along in my mind almost like you can move through google earth.
what is it that occurs when you go back to places like that? some kind of endorphin thing? like a nostalgia hormone or something? is it a comfort zone thing? familiarity?
right now i have a sick nana. that is the toughest thing for me to be so distant from. with everything else the absence is making the heart grow fonder. i'll always go back and i will always look for the rocks to be in the same place. the roads will lead to the same places and anything that has changed will undergo a thorough investigation. my stories change a little as memories blur and the stories i invent to explain the changes that occur while i'm gone will probably mix in with them.
i don't think this story is all that amazing or anything. there are tons of kids that grow up like this in the country. my parents are a little unusual for the area but other than that i was a regular dirty kid there. and is back woods south carolina really all that different than back woods Vermont or Wyoming other than different fruit trees grow there and a few variations on how you pronounce things like 'racecar'? the thing i get a little kick out of is the combinations of places i think of as homes. Pickens, Charleston, and Southeast Portland. I might just be one of a hand full of people ever with those places under their belt. Doubt that anyone can tell me if that means anything but its one of the few things that can make me feel a little special. Not in the short bus sense or the 'my president cares about me' sense but more in the vein of 'i am an artist and i am a snowflake.' But still I think Dan Attoe said it well when he wrote "You're vulnerable just like the rest of us. Get some Balls. Better get your shit together." in bright neon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


a couple folks asked for the recipe so here it is as good as i can remember.

*some olive oil
*a clove of garlic
*a large onion
a carrot
a can of sliced tomatoes
broth of some kind (bout 2 of those cardboard things of it)
*a sprig of rosemary
pepper and salt
a potato
a can of white or pinto beans
some parsley

everything with a * goes in first and then add the broth and everything else.
i really don't know the subtleties of timing in cooking so the noodles got all mushy. i guess those should go in last.

for real details consult someone who knows what they are doing. my grandma's # is 864 380 1268

then parmesan all up on the top