My dad, Jim Davis, is an artist. He is only just now coming to realize this, at age 71. He has spent his life working with his hands, creating what was needed to support his family. I’ve watched him change tires, fix cars, fix fences, remodel buildings, build structures, design gates and feeders and entire systems for raising animals. I’ve watched as he sketched out rough plans for things he’d walk right out and build from scratch. It’s probably why I have such a practical bent. From the age of four I’ve known how to pump gas, snap a chalk line and drive a nail.
Somewhere along the way he became interested in antique tools. And that led to an interest in blacksmithing and metal fabrication. And now he’s been creating intricate and complex steel sculptures for several years. He’s gotten very good. Though I will say that he fights himself constantly. If he agrees that he’s got talent, then that seems proud. And he’s not a proud man. But he is proud of what he’s learned. And he’s learning to be proud of what he can do.
He tells me that creativity is just something that happens. He says that you can see inside of yourself the place where you copy what everyone else does. And you have to push past that. When I tell him that I struggle with finding ideas. He scoffs and says the ideas are there. Just push into them and let yourself go. I need to talk to him more about this because I don’t really “get” it. He says he has more ideas that he could ever execute in a dozen lifetimes. Ideas upon ideas. And there’s never enough time to do them all. I hope that inside of me there is a font of creativity as deep as his. I want his confidence. Though I suspect it is a feature hard-earned through living life.
My parents were here yesterday so that my husband Gary could photograph the latest sculpture. I’ll have the pictures of it in a few days. But for now here are a couple of his steel sculptures from the archives.
Edit: I’ve since created a gallery of my dad’s work. He makes them faster than we can get there to photograph them, so we don’t have pictures of them all. Also, in October 2012 he entered his first art show and placed with ribbons on every piece he entered, including winning the award for Judge’s Choice. Congratulations Dad!