We had the good fortune of connecting with Lee Davenport and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lee, how do you think about risk?
When considering risks, I ask myself, “Is the risk worth it?” Often I’ll compare pros and cons for help deciding the matter. However, something that I found to have significant weight in determining if taking a chance is worth it is also asking if now is the best time for it?
For instance, one of the biggest risks I ended up undertaking in my life was deciding to become a full time artist. Looking at the pros and cons, it was fairly balanced, with the lure of success being just as tantalizing as the threat of failure. With that alone, it was hard to commit to either side and make a decision. Ultimately, I likely would have gone in a different direction with my future career just to be safe, seeing that I was fresh out of college and in need of a job. Despite this, the one understanding I came to that changed my thinking so dramatically was asking myself if that point in my life was the best moment to be a full time artist.
I realized that there likely would not be another time in my life where I could give being an artist the best chance at success and have the ability to truly put everything I could into it. Knowing that is what pushed me into pursuing art full time and promising myself a year to explore where that path takes me, leading me to where I am today.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The one idea that is inherent to my art and is the key component in making my artwork its own is the concept of narrative. Specifically, telling an original story of my creation that visually conveys an event, whether real or imaginary.
That concept is what I find most enjoyable about my art, where the viewer can get drawn into the scene when noticing the subtle clues that eventually reveal one’s interpretation of the narrative. Part of that excitement stems from knowing how people see the events happening in my artworks and hearing their understanding of it. This is because I believe that all narratives are right when interpreting my artwork, which furthers my ability to tell more stories. Everyone’s journey in life is different and because of this, every person is bound to have a unique iteration of the story being told.
To illustrate, the tone of the piece can completely morph with a subtle change of perspective. It’s these differences that I love to hear, it is like being told a completely new narrative. The artwork was able to tell the viewer a different story than what it told to me and I find that interaction to be interesting every single time. It inspires me and further pushes me into creating more story composed artwork so that I can continue that concept of narrative.
Altogether, not only is this idea of a visual story the component that makes my artwork mine, but also what I am most proud and excited to understand as others experience connections to the original worlds within the art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
During the time we would have together, I would want to spend our time outdoors exploring some of my favorite places within Arizona and finding artistic inspiration in its presence.
Firstly, there is a hiking trail that’s a little northeast of Payson called the Horton Creek trailhead 285 that follows alongside a creek amidst a pine forest. It would be nice to spend the day hiking when the weather is cool, before finding a quiet spot beside the creek with my sketchbook.
Afterwards, going west towards Arcosanti would be the next stop. There is so much I love about that little town, such as the architecture, surrounding landscape, community, and even the concepts that Arcosanti is based on, being a reimagined society that’s more unified with the natural world. While there, the day would start with going on a guided tour to explain the history and importance of the town, followed by a meal at their cafe. Then I would like to explore the architecture, shops, and outdoor areas until it is time to tuck in for the night at their guest rooms.
The final stop would be the Grand Canyon, where I would want to spend most of my time there appreciating the immensity and beauty of it by capturing a piece of it in art. While my art isn’t focused on solely portraying landscapes, I find that doing artistic studies helps me get into a relaxed and creative mindset that leads me into new ideas for my narrative artworks. Eventually when the sun sets over the canyon, I would want to enjoy the stars as they light up the sky, illuminating the Milky Way Galaxy. On a perfect night, there would be a meteor shower that would really emphasize the pinnacle of the trip and bring an incredible end to the experiences I shared with my friend.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout my family for always having an artistic environment to surround and inspire me as I was growing up, as well as being incredibly supportive of my artistic endeavors.