Spotlight: Josh Davy

A Q&A with multimedia artist Josh Davy.

Photo by Paul Miller

Josh Davy, best known for his jewelry, models of buildings, and robot sculptures, epitomizes the modern multimedia artist: He’s a sculptor, woodworker, metal smith, ceramicist, and illustrator. He has a BFA in Ceramics from CU Boulder and serves as director of NEXT Gallery in the 40 West Arts District.

What he’s working on now

Davy’s August show, Lost in Civilization, featured his ceramic building models and metal robot sculptures. The pieces conveyed the detriments of gentrification and imagined humans in a future where only a shadow of our architectural history remains. Next year, however, Davy is shifting gears; he plans to complete a graphic novel of pen and ink drawings. He says he will return to sculpture eventually, but is excited to create a show out of an entirely different medium.

His passion

Davy enjoys the process of creating an entire show for a gallery. He says, “There’s something about putting a show together that means more to me than just making a single piece. If you look at everything I’m making right now, it all works together. So when you walk into the show there will be this complete picture of something that I’m trying to say and something that I want to make people feel.”

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He has always thought of himself as an artist

When he was as young as 8 years old, Davy’s art teachers began encouraging him to pursue his talent. Once he was in junior high school, he started taking as many art electives as he could. Finally, in high school, Davy learned silver smithing and silver casting—skills he still uses.

His inspiration

The way Davy finds inspiration is an evolving process. He describes it like this: “Early on, I’d get an idea for a single piece. I’d make it and I’d like it. And then something in that would carry me to the next piece. The ideas became a steady flow instead of ‘What am I gonna do next?’ Once you get to that point, where one idea feeds into another, it becomes much easier to be prolific and make a lot of successful work.” Davy has also found inspiration in his artistic struggles: “We lost our space [for NEXT Gallery] in the Navajo Arts District, which is a big part of why I started making the building sculptures and trying to talk about gentrification and the waste of tearing things down and building new things that aren’t better, just new.”

How he measures his work’s quality

Davy has an innate sense of his work’s value, but also relies on other artists’ feedback. He says, “Two shows ago, I knew it was my best work, but it didn’t sell very well at all. I didn’t feel bad because it was really good work. The one after that, the show wasn’t as good, but it almost sold out. I would rather have the really good show, personally, but every show should be the best one. You should be continuing to get better. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I gauge it more on feedback from other people than I do on sales.”