Brock Davis – “This led to Banksy emailing me and asking if I would like to exhibit work at Dismaland”

May, 2019
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5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

Looking at the world a little differently, with Brock Davis

This week Creative Chair is in Minneapolis, Minnesota for an interview with artist and creative director Brock Davis.

Brock manipulates seemingly mundane objects to create little vignettes. These scenes are popular with his followers on Instagram, as well as fellow creatives.

In 2015 Banksy invited him to showcase his work as part of the Dismaland art project. You can see more from Brock Davis on Behance.

Cake Ramp by Brock Davis
Cake Ramp by Brock Davis

A lot of your work involves small augmentations to everyday objects, of which you then take a picture. Do you see these potential vignettes when looking at objects, or are they ideas that you then recreate with what’s available?

Familiar, everyday objects create a sense of understanding and stability and that can be very powerful. I’m curious about ideas that challenge how we perceive the things we see every day, no matter how seemingly mundane.

Cucumber Killer Whale
Cucumber Killer Whale

I do this best by staying connected to how I absorbed the world as a kid. Always curious, always observing and exploring. When I am struck with an idea, I’ll work to bring it to life quickly, while the momentum is strong, in an effort to capture the spontaneity of the idea.

“I’ve always been interested in things that don’t seem interesting at first glance”
Exhibitionist Coffee Cup Dismaland
Exhibitionist Coffee Cup Dismaland

When did you first start to get involved with this type of art, and how has it evolved over time?

I grew up in a family of artists and musicians and I was encouraged to explore creatively. I was also one of those kids who would play with the wrapping paper instead of playing with the toy inside, so I’ve always been interested in things that don’t seem interesting at first glance.

Broccoli House
Broccoli House

I put this into practice more consistently in 2009 when I took on a daily art project where I created one piece of art every day for a year. I was on holiday break and spent the early days of that project walking around my house seeing what I could discover, which as it turned out, was quite a lot.

Working as an art director in advertising at the time, I had honed in on my ability to communicate ideas visually and I think this discipline combined with my sensibilities as an artist helped shape how I see and define objects.

Gum on the Beach
Gum on the Beach by Brock Davis

Having your work exhibited at Dismaland must have been a pretty big deal. How did this come about, and what did you gain from the experience?

I had some of my work featured in an art book called ‘Big Art Small Art.’ Oddly enough, I ended up meeting the author of that book, Tristan Manco, at Dismaland and he explained that he had given a copy of the book to Banksy.

“It was crazy and I assumed it was a joke at first, but thankfully it wasn’t”
Filet knife Bread knife
Filet knife Bread knife

This led to Banksy emailing me and asking if I would like to exhibit work at Dismaland. It was crazy and I assumed it was a joke at first, but thankfully it wasn’t. Along with existing photographs, I spent about 6 months creating new work for the show, primarily photographs and sculpture.

The 151st 366 Award goes to Brock Davis for his outstanding creative work.

Turnstile by Brock Davis

It was surreal to exhibit works literally in the same room as works from Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, David Shrigley and of course Banksy. Overall, the experience was incredible. I met some great artists and connected with a variety of people and design bloggers who are fans of my work and who had helped perpetuate it over the years.

After Dismaland, I was a bit burned out and I took about a year off from making and exhibiting work.

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Dreams (1977)
Fleetwood Mac
Play on Apple Music
Play on Spotify
Play on YouTube
What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Brock Davis
Our Forest