Art Picks! 5 Questions for Artist, Sandra Davis

Art Picks! 5 Questions for Artist, Sandra Davis

"The Ladies" mixed media on canvas by Sandra Davis. Copyright by the artist.

Image: “The Ladies” mixed media, by Sandra Davis. Copyright the artist.

Sandra Davis holds an Associate’s Degree in Visual Communications from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She lives with her husband, photographer Aaron Davis, and two sons in Gaithersburg, MD. She actively participates in exhibitions throughout the Maryland, Virginia, and District. Sandra is currently represented by Annie’s Art Gallery in Temple Hills Maryland. She has been very active in the local art community since 2009, prior to that time her work was seen by close friends and family.

Sandra considers her art “Green” or “Re-purposed”, the medium is “mixed media” which consist of paper from magazines, shredded documents, paper towels, tissue paper and gift bags along with other found papers. “As African American females especially mothers, we have been known to re-use or repurpose, grouping together and piecing together to create new”, says Sandra. “Much like a good gumbo, lots of little pieces of this and that make up the flavor of the image.”

Sandra states the common theme of her work is generally female-oriented, afrocentric portraits with specific themes. Other pieces are abstract in nature exploring movement, color and found materials such as dried flowers and greeting cards. She incorporates acrylic paint and utilizes the leftover acrylic skins as well. The technique allows the work to take on movement based on the application. The paper is adhered to the surface with a gel medium. The shredded paper is sometimes painted or applied directly with the gel medium to the surface.  View more Sandra’s work at:

I recently interviewed Sandra about her thoughts regarding her journey as an artist, her inspirations and her role as an artist.

Sharon Burton: When was the moment that you knew inside that you were an artist?

Sandra Davis: I was a young child in elementary school winning contests in the student art shows! I started out doing still life, pen and ink drawings, and fruits and flowers. Subject matter that shouted color and texture really spoke to me. I had a fantastic art teacher in middle school and had a piece selected to be in a traveling show and it helped me to realize that I loved to have my work recognized!! My parents allowed me to explore different types of art from painting to photography.

SB: What inspires you to create? How does that inspiration show up in your work?

SD: The uses of materials, which create my color palate, inspire me to create. I use pages from fashion magazines, tissue paper, paper towels, leftover wrapping paper and shredded paper. When I see paper items being discarded because the original use is no longer required, I look for a new way to use them. I have one piece that incorporates money straps from the bank. They come in all sorts of colors, yellow, purple, red and blue. I have a box of bright orange envelopes just waiting to be used in my next image. My inspiration shows up in my interpretation of an image or experience that touches me personally.

SB: How would you describe your collectors?

SD: My collectors respond to the vivid and bold colors and appreciate the use of materials. They are surprised the image comes together with the paper application and respond to what that image is conveying. I have one piece that I call “Tobacco” and the reaction was strong from my African American followers. It was a strong reminder of a grandmother or someone from their family that grew up in the south. Other collectors are friends and family members.

SB: As an emerging artist, do you find it easier or harder to be recognized for your work?

SD: I am finding the more I show and the more the work is being seen the easier it is to have the work recognized. I have started getting the work out there within the last three years. What is hard is having the work seen by a broader audience and outside of the DMV area.

SB: Finish this sentence: As an artist, I feel that it is my responsibility to:

SD: Show beauty with re-purposed materials. We live in such a use and discard society, and I want to show how we can give materials new life. I do that with paper from different sources in my work.


Sharon Burton keeps her finger on the pulse of D.C.’s visual arts scene and runs The Artinista Art Advisory a savvy boutique, woman-owned, art consultancy specializing in providing services to professional women looking to build and maintain contemporary art collections by emerging and mid-career artists. Got a LSP Pick!? Contact Sharon here.

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