ART COLLECTIVE: Joshua Davis – Flight Inspired
- By Amy Ettinger
- Published on July 17, 2012
Name: Joshua Davis (Flight Inspired)
Highlights: Camp Bisco 9 pin, SPHINX Dead pin, hustling festivals and Furthur tour around the country
Reflections of personal style, interest, and heady roots, pins have garnered a permanent spot among vendors cruising the lot or lining Shakedown Street. They’re as ubiquitous as wire wraps, minerals and flat brims, if not trendier.
“Pins have so much meaning in this culture we live in,” 24-year-old Joshua Davis said. “It’s like all the sweet posters you have at home on your hat.”
Davis, more commonly recognized as Flight Inspired, has been designing and selling pins on the scene since 2009. You might recognize him for his sold-out Camp Bisco 9 pin or increasingly popular Sphinx.
However, his first taste of entrepreneurial creativity came at age 12 with a dream to establish his own record company. He’s also tested his skills in a few Internet start-ups, including a service selling stock pins when he was involved in day trading options. He said he would still be meddling in that field if it weren’t for the market slowing down during the beginning of the recession.
He was particularly fond of the Camp Bisco 8 pin, so after a friend noted his exceptional design skills, he went to work creating a pin for the subsequent year. The pin would eventual sell out and become his hottest seller.
During the same time, he took an interest in the Dead community and spent about 90 percent of his time going to shows and listening to their music. This phase of his life inspired him to start designing pins in that vein.
“Since then, it’s been the most amazing journey,” he said. “The community is amazing.”
Davis adopted the nickname “Flight,” when he was 16 working in a warehouse for his grandfather. The moniker transformed itself on a flight after a Pretty Lights New Years Eve show, when he became motivated to pursue his dream.
His grandmother – who Davis said was like a mother to him – died days before the show. After her passing, Flight Inspired took his entire attention.
Since then, Davis has devoted the majority of his time to his passion for design and music. Last summer, he made an appearance at 13 festivals, including Summer Camp, Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, All Good and Camp Bisco. He also made tour stops at some of the Furthur East Coast shows and half of the Furthur West Coast tour.
Josh attributes his success to his fans and the community within the scene.
“I think showing the ability to live on tour off pins has made some people very dedicated,” he said. “ I never think of anyone as a customer, but a friend because my friends were my first ‘customers’ and it’s all the same.”
He’s also rooted his talent in philanthropic causes. He dedicated a pin and 100 percent of its proceeds toward bailing a friend out of jail and taking care of additional legal fees.
“I’m really blessed to do something like this and was hoping to make an example of how others should be,” he said. “This community needs more direction on the good things to do. I’d love to be that inspiration, of course.”
His personal favorite design is the SPHINX which is also one his best sellers. He’s made six versions due to high demand. A spin on Cats Under The Stars, it’s a hieroglyphic that he added Dead appeal to.
“It’s simple and bold – much like designs I love.”
Davis said he was recently corrected on his Egyptian history – the pin is not technically a sphinx, after all.
Direction has been one of his biggest obstacles. But when in doubt, he channels one of his inspirations, Jerry Garcia, who poetically sang, “If you get confused, listen to the music play” in “Franklin’s Tower.”
His future may hold opportunity for clothing and jewelry in addition to his much-loved pins.
“I’ve always dreamed of being a big role in the world,” he said. “I’d love to take Flight Inspired to those heights. This is my dream, and in this moment, this is perfect for me.”
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