Ronald “Upfromsumdirt” Davis
Digital Collage is my primary medium but I also do illustrations and paintings. I start with hand drawings using a digital tablet and found images that are further manipulated in digital software. My work has appeared in galleries, museums, coffee houses and juke joints in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. In 2009 I was a Kentucky Al Smith grant award winner. As a creative person, I am inspired to create a visual fantasy that expresses an African American narrative and mythology. I call what I do Abstrack Africana, a fluid aesthetic where technology, science, history, mythology and art merge and co-mingle.
I gain inspiration from everywhere. However, music and the written word have the greatest influences on me. Sun Ra, Chinua Achebe and George Clinton have inspired my artistic work just as much as Pedro Bell, Romare Bearden and Emory Douglas. I hear a riff by Charles Mingus and I ask myself, “How can I make that into art? How can I reshape the images generated by it into poetic verse?” This is my obsession.
Additionally, I am the art and poetry editor for Mythium Literary Journal (http://mythiumlitmag.com/) and co-owner of Wild Fig Bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky.
Karen “Karoda” Davis
With the soul of a poet, I create mixed media art quilts that are heavily process oriented. Starting with white cloth that receives color via dyes/paints and according to the visual idea, the cloth will undergo various surface design treatments, such as, screen printing, wax resist, stamping, over-dyeing and/or hand writing. The designed cloth then in turn becomes raw material for whole cloth or pieced quilts that receive stitching, embroidery and/or hand beading. The finished pieces are for hanging or framing. I am just as comfortable in a hardware store and grocery store and waste can, as I am in a fabric store when scouring for studio materials.
I am mostly interested in the processes of creating as a way to explore my sense of freedom and limitations and as a way to connect to a larger sense of community. Chitlin’ Circuit is the name of my studio. It is located in the Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center. My blog, http://chiltincircuitstudio.blogspot.com, is one of the earliest known blogs documenting processes and ideas by an African American art quilter as referenced in This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers Bible Quilts and Other Pieces by Kyra Hicks.
Showing work alongside Upfromsumdirt, my brother, has been a dream of mind since I began my visual art journey in 2004. We are both products of Louisville’s public schools and the West End of Louisville.
We hope you enjoy the mix of art produced by both our hands.