“Creativity and engaging in creativity can offer insight into how we move forward.”
– Jennifer Davis
There’s a sturdy and subversive thread woven through Jennifer Davis’s life and work:
Where there’s an expectation to do things a certain way, of conformity or straight lines, because that’s how it’s always been done, Jennifer’s life is all about saying, “Nope. I’m doing it differently.”
It feels like the “yes” and the path for Jennifer is in the joy, in the curvy unpatterned strokes of her paintbrush, in the “let’s try this and see what happens.”
In her work and life, Jennifer is exploring where creativity and liberation intersect, asking how creativity as a practice can inform the work of liberation.
She shares, “Creativity, in so many ways, is almost the exact opposite of oppression and oppressive systems, which demand perfection and accuracy and get-it-right-everytime.” In her work alone and with other folks, she explores how creativity can provide a way forward, with its space for play, questions, and mistakes that turn out to be openings for something new to emerge.
And although social justice is a serious endeavor, the “work of liberation” has to be infused with play and joy. Nicole identifies this in Jennifer’s art, this pairing of the whimsical and innocent with powerful political statements.
The conversation lands on a “press pause” moment when they identify that their ability as Black women to find joy, innovation, and art is inherent in the struggle— a truth that’s easy to miss if you’re not living it. Jennifer makes it harder to miss. In this conversation, in Jennifer’s work, in her love of texture and color, in her completely joyful lip-synch/dance thing on Instagram, there’s an irresistible invitation into joy and play.
Joy and revolution now. Joy is the revolution now.
Please listen in, and after you do, let us know how the conversation surfaces for you. We’d love to hear from you.
We also invite you to check out Jennifer’s Summoning Your Power Through Play, a 3 week art-journaling experiences where folks get to gather and respond to various prompts to “make marks” together.
This Conversation Also Includes:
- Jennifer’s intention in pairing the whimsical and the political in her art
- How getting stuck in outgrown ideologies can steal the joy
- Art and healing
- The importance of “marrying joy and challenges”
- Jennifer’s insistence on centering her existence on joy and community, not oppression
- Exploring the intersection of creativity and liberation
- Their refusal to engage in “trauma wasting”
- “Get in bitches. We’re being inclusive.”
About Jennifer Davis:
Jennifer Price Davis is a Cleveland-based painter, illustrator, and writer. As a primarily self-taught artist, as a practice, Jennifer paints what pops into her soul and demands to come to life. Jennifer has a BA in psychology and an MA in art therapy counseling. Until very recently, she was a teacher of 1st through 3rd graders. Prior to her work as a teacher, she was a career counselor.
Jennifer’s work focuses primarily on black culture and what it means to exist in black bodies, with emphasis on black women and girls. She is particularly interested in illuminating the ordinary. In the ordinary, Jennnifer sees something both achingly beautiful, immensely political, and even revolutionary, about the ability to exist and move about the world safely and confidently in ordinary ways.
Her goal is to participate in the progress of liberation through every bit of her work.