Commercial artist depicts High Point in murals
By: Terry Rader
“Life is a gift and is meant to be shared with others,” is a quote on the mural “Puzzle” painted by Brian Davis. “Puzzle” was painted on a building once considered an eyesore in High Point. Davis said that one of his biggest heroes and champions, Dorothy Darr, co-chair at Southwest Renewal Foundation of High Point, helped him get started with his art. The puzzle concept matched their desire to do something for the community, and it conveyed the need to bring a lot of different colors and sizes of pieces together as a whole. Davis hopes it will send a message of inclusion to people from all backgrounds not only living in High Point but visiting as well.
This is just one of the murals Davis has painted in High Point. His other murals are memorials to musicians who have passed away. Davis said that when he first saw the location, there were two electric meter boxes on the building that was not on his original design and included George Harrison. When Davis saw the meter boxes, he decided to let them be John Lennon’s eyes and spectacles instead. He said this mural was designed to bring more paintings to the Washington Street area.
“I always listen to the music of whatever artist I’m working on,” Davis said.
Shannon Allman reached out to Davis on Facebook and thanked him for painting Gregg Allman’s face on a mural and for keeping his memory alive. Davis said he felt appreciated and made him want to honor more musicians with his murals.
Davis said he is also looking forward to painting more music venue murals. He said that one of his favorite murals is of Johnny Cash displaying his famous middle finger at Nitro’s in Randleman. Another painting he considers one of his favorites, resides at The Summit at Cullowhee on the Western Carolina University campus. He’s got a couple of ideas for future murals; one concept is of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he said it needs a home. Then there’s another idea brewing for a zoo or a city renovation project that would include music and is part of a much larger vision he has.
Davis paints more than murals and considers himself a commercial artist that is mostly self-taught. He said that he did his first oil painting at age 10 and then when he was 12, he loved to watch cartoons. In his desire to learn how to draw cartoon characters, Davis would pause the T.V. and tape a piece of tracing paper to the screen and trace off the images and practice that way until he developed his style. When he was 14, he worked one summer at Southern Graphics Studio in Thomasville. Davis said this gave him a distinct advantage when he began his commercial art and advertising design training at Guilford Technical Community College. He started freelancing and said he has never looked back.
Davis works out of his home BRIANSTUDIO, located in his Thomasville garage and “image creation” studio. His works also include logos and identity programs, graphics for print, apparel, digital art and commissioned fine art illustrations. Davis said he feels blessed with his other work and loves waking up everyday finishing kitchen cabinets for interior design projects by “Inspired by Color.” He said he gets to do a lot of exciting projects that include gold leaf and faux painting.
“The negative spaces are what I bring into everything I do,” Davis said. “It’s important to respect the negative space, like the notes between the notes in music.”
As a former creative director and graphic designer myself, I know how unique it is to find an artist that can render so many different styles and do them all equally well. Davis and I recounted the days of rendering graphics on drafting tables, using markers and cutting amberlith overlays with swivel knives. It is encouraging to see an artist continuing to make commercial art and a living at it as well. Davis happily anticipates other mural artists joining in.
The mural locations in High Point include “Puzzle” in downtown Goldston Park, “The Lizard” on the corner of Main and Lexington Streets, musicians on Washington Street, two sidewalk murals of piano keys and a panorama of High Point are at the Visitors Convention Bureau. Davis is presently working on his third mural in three weeks and said it would be a bicycle mural with 3D handlebars, but it is located inside, as are many of his private projects.
TERRY RADER is a freelance or for-hire writer/editorial/copy/digital content, former creative director/ strategist, storyteller, poet, wellness herbalist, flower essences practitioner, and owner of Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind cat/dog/house sitting.
BRIANSTUDIO, (336) 736-2051, www.brianstudio.com, www.facebook.com/thebrianstudio