An Interview with Alonzo Davis

Kites photo courtesy of Alonzo Davis.

Alonzo Davis was featured at the Montpelier Arts Center in October.

The Hyattsville artist, who works with bamboo, paper and cloth, had more than 50 of his kites on display at the arts center.

In an email interview with the Hyattsville Wire, he talked about how he got started in the medium.

Why did you start working with bamboo, paper and cloth?

I started working with bamboo during an artists residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, 1998. Paper and cloth has been a part of my work since my studies at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where I acquired an MFA in 1973.

Are there any tricks to using those materials that you wish you’d learned earlier?

The use of bamboo has continue to grow as I have learned about it as a former member of the American Bamboo Society and explored ways other artists use it as a material. I have also been fascinated by architects who use it as a building material internationally.

Where do you get your inspiration from when starting a piece?

My art choices and worldview have been inspired by travel. Through travel I seek influences, cultural centers and energies, new terrain and the power of both the spoken and unspoken.

Visual metaphors and symbols that relate to travel of all kinds and a range of destinations infuse my work in various ways — texture, pattern, shapes and embellishments. Map fragments, abstractions of cultural symbols, aerial views and layered color and woven patterns that suggest grids are recurrent features.

What do you think of the arts community in Hyattsville?

In moving here in 2002, it was a pleasant surprise that this area had been designated as an arts district. I continue to be active in supporting the Brentwood Arts Center through the exhibition of my work as well as participating in community-based events in the greater Hyattsville cultural communities.

To see more of Davis’ work, check out his Flickr page. 

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