ART COLLECTIVE: Kris Davidson – Artist
- By Rachel McQuade
- Published on September 25, 2012
Name: Kris Davidson
Highlights: Tattooing and live painting with STS9
Born and raised in the Stone Mountain suburbs of Atlanta, Kris Davidson began drawing as a child, noting that was the medium he “naturally gravitated towards.”
“As a kid, I always drew mazes,” he explained. “As I got older, I started drawing more mandala-type stuff.”
While attending art school at the University of Georgia in Athens, Davidson spent a lot of time with the guys of STS9. During the band’s first few years, he would go to their shows to dance and show support. It wasn’t until around 2000 that Kris “nonchalantly and organically” began live painting.
Over the next decade, Davidson would paint alongside STS9 dozens of times creating numerous pieces of amazing artwork.
“Regardless of what the band is doing, it’s what’s happening energetically in the room [that affects the art],” he explained. “Is the collective of the crowd in sync with the music that’s being made? If it is, I’ll notice that the art is just magically unfolding and I don’t even have to think about it.”
But after so many years of living painting, a trip to India and South America last year prompted Davidson to realize he was ready for a change. He returned to Georgia and began working on a collaborative art exhibit and book with David Hale. Another UGA art grad and one of Kris’s closest friends, Hale is the owner/lead tattooist at Love Hawk Tattoo Studio in Athens.
“Medicina,” the name of both the art installation and the accompanying book, was “an excuse for us to work together, exploring the idea of art being medicine a little deeper and incorporate other cultural threads of medicine,” Davidson said.
“When something that’s sick in the body needs healing, there’s some type of energetic block that’s happening,” Davidson explained, expanding more on the reciprocal relationship of healing and art. “If there’s some type of block, there’s been some type of forgetting along the way. Forgetting of one’s true nature, forgetting of the great story of who we are and where we come from. Music, art, architecture, stories, conversation – all these things are ultimately medicine because true art is inspiring one to remember one’s self.”
While working together on the Medicina exhibit, Davidson decided to let go of live painting and start learning tattooing. Self-deemed the “most humbling and challenging medium,” he believes that tattooing is a sacred art.
“Right now, I’m focusing on tattooing so I can build the skill set to continue to grow and develop and anoint my art on people that want it,” he said.
Davidson added that he looks at tattoos as his “spiritual armor.” He got his first tattoo on his back about five years ago in Thailand – hand-poked the traditional way with bamboo.
“If I had gotten tattoos when I was like 18, I would have had something really dumb. There was something about turning 30, it felt like it was time and I had more certainty about the process.”
David Hale did one section of his tattoos and almost all the rest were done by a tattoo artist named Rory Keating of Guru Tattoo in San Diego, California, who Kris met after he “scoured the Internet for months, analyzing people’s line work.”
“I just had a hunch based on his line work that I could trust him and our personalities would mesh,” Davidson said. “And they did.”
Surprisingly, Kris rarely goes to concerts anymore.
“I don’t even go out much,” he said. “I travel, so when I do that type of thing, I’m in another country. When I get back to the States, it’s time to hermit-out and make art and now tattoo people. I’m big on personal practices like meditation practice and yoga practice.”
Although they change often, his current musical inspirations are North and South American indigenous music, Indian music and tribal music.
Find out more about Kris Davidson's work via Facebook.
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