Noah Davis was an accomplished artist, who’s paintings were incredibly beautiful and full of depth and wit. Much like his Name, Noah had a vision to build his own Ark, which is now an amazing space called the Underground Museum. Noah had the heart and Soul of an artist, he was a rebel and like Michelle of Papillon Gallery put it “ Noah gave zero fucks. He marched to the beat of his own drum, he wanted others to be inspired to do the same. He was a visionary and my friend!
Noah had a fun and youthful energy but was insanely talented, intelligent and an extremely hard worker. He was creating and working on paintings up until the very end of his life.
To donate to the Underground Museum, please click here: http://theunderground-museum.com/
We love you Noah!
In loving memory of our good friend we had to go digging in our archives. Here’s a great interview/insight we took into Noah’s world a few years ago. We also added a few of our favorite art pieces that he created over the years.e
Union: Can you tell me about the first painting you ever made?
Noah: Uhhh… I don’t remember. First painting I ever made to show?
Noah: Ever. I don’t remember the first painting I made.
Union: OK what’s the first painting you ever remember making?
Noah: Hmmm great question. I remember I got a studio when I was in Seattle, when I was 16… but I was painting well before that… I got a studio when I was 16 in the back of this kind of low brow art gallery and I got a couple of big canvases, store bought, and I just made these really awful paintings (chuckles). They were suppose to be abstract but they were just really bad. I remember making that painting and painting throughout high school and it being really hard. I just remember I could never get it to look the way I wanted it to look so I just stopped painting.
Union: So what got you back into painting?
Noah: I think for the early part of 2000. I was in a lot of museums and working in a lot of museums and I saw a lot of paintings. By seeing them I just wanted to. I couldn’t really do photography and there seemed to be better opportunities for me as a painter because all my ideas were pointing in that direction. It seemed so immediate, so quick and probably what I was best at doing.
Union: Funny how people gravitate towards certain mediums, right?
Noah: Right, yeah, like I was too scared to go take a photo of somebody on the street or a situation so I just painted it cause I wasn’t really socially capable.
Union: Because it’s non-confrontational.
Noah: Yeah, it’s very private so I can do a lot of stuff I wanted to do.
Union: Have you overcome that or do you still think…
Noah: No, I definitely want to do more film and photos now. I enjoy making paintings but I think they’re kind of influencing one another these days. I still need the other one. I don’t really like using other people’s images. These (pointing to canvases scattered around studio) are other people’s images but it’s more like watching television. I’m taking a still from something. I don’t know, I need my own imagery. I’m very much on that path towards creating and painting it.
Union: So this series of paintings are all television stills?
Union: Are there specific television bits that you take or are they random things you select?
Noah: I wanted to create a series. I was watching a lot of television… Jerry Springer, Maury… you know. Basically, I really wanted to do this series for a long time. It’s kind of out of left field.
Union: Out of left field is good sometimes.
Noah: It’s a little different but I’ve been wanting to do it.
Union: Does the subject influence your color palette?
Noah: Yeah. It’s going to be interesting. We’ve been talking about this while we’ve been working on it. It’s just these very cheesy, kitsch palettes… the real shows, they’re like blue, light purple carpet with red, you know, and the background of these particular sets almost look like a contemporary art set, which sounds weird but all the flat screens and all that stuff kind of allude to an installation so it’s really funny to paint it. The palette is affected by that so I can have fun. It’s just like a modern stage the way all these angles are working. It alludes to the history of painting, which is really strange because these are really low, white trash television shows. A lot of these shows take place in Chicago. It’s very 90’s. It was big in the 90’s and now it’s just disappeared into the vacuum of the 90’s. And the characters are kind of like Fellini characters, they’re just the extreme. Instead of having to go out and cast, they’re already there. Crazy, fucking characters. They’re so funny to watch. It took me awhile to get it to look the way I wanted it to look.
Union: Are you from Chicago?
Noah: No, I’m not. My mom is from Chicago.
Beth: And his brother Kanye is too.
Noah: (laughter) My brother Kanye… so funny.
Union: (laughter) When you put those glasses on, I thought in my head “He kind of looks like Kanye.”
Noah: That’s so sad. (pause) I heard Kim Kardashian and him are having a baby.
Lucky for us and maybe you, we have a few more copies of Naoh’s most recent book, “Seventy Works,” in stock HERE.