Geoffrey Davis has had a lifetime of exploring the traditional arts. His path has wound through decorative painting, drawing, woodworking, and printmaking, but it was luthiery that led him to carving.
“Building a ukulele requires expensive materials, exotic woods and hard to get hardware. During a time that I could not afford to begin a ukulele building project, I began to carve birds from found materials and scrap.” Growing up, Geoff split his time between central Indiana and coastal Maine.
“I had a glorious childhood of solo adventure. I had the tools and materials and space to strike out on my own – space to work and space to explore.”
His generation may have been the last generation to have the freedom to spend afternoons laying face down in a tree — over a creek — watching fish and observing their behaviors or to paddle the fringes of saltwater bays watching sandpipers and heron. Geoff credits this freedom — to learn and observe and create — with developing the creative drive that he has today.
Geoff draws his subject matter from his own experiences — childhood memories of zoos and farms, a solo canoe trip across New England and his hours of observing wildlife are inspiration for his work. Every piece represents a personal story or impression or memory.
With an eye for texture and a simple clean form, Geoff fashions animals — birds, whales and large mammals from white pine, leather and found materials. These sculptures sometime represent single animals or relationships within groups. Recent experiments have led Geoff to fashion his animals as pull-toys.
“My adventures — recent and from across my lifetime — inform my work. The Adirondacks, childhood zoo and farm visits, the coast of Maine and Indiana rivers are all there. Everyone has adventures and experiences that mean a lot to them. It is my hope that my experiences — through my work — connect with the experiences of others.