From leaving her career as a fashion stylist behind, an award-winning Black British contemporary portrait artist Yvadney Davis rediscovered her passion for painting and storytelling through art during the pandemic. Her work is a love letter to the Windrush Generation of her grandparents and its descendants, combining soulful brush strokes and defiant colour with iconic design elements of the ‘West Indian front room’. Here, she shares her story so far..
Can you tell us your backstory and how you got into the art world?
My art career started during the pandemic, when I was forced to pause my day job as a fashion stylist and home school my young children. After a ‘mummy art class’, I rediscovered my long-lost passion for painting and what started out as portraits of myself and friends, became releasing some of them as giclee prints, commissions and what has been a whirlwind of exhibitions, art prizes, collaborations, and a new direction ever since. So, I’m self-taught and navigate the art world with a strong conviction of the stories I want to share.
What influences your work?
Spending time with my Jamaican grandmother prior to her passing, strengthened my desire to represent my community of British Caribbeans. She was a member of the trailblazing Windrush Generation and I knew from dwelling in the nostalgia of being around her so much, that my art had to honour my culture, everyday people in a way that felt majestic and vibrant, this could be plantains, enjoying golden hour or even reminiscing on old hairstyles. The Windrush Generation were known for having very distinctively decorated homes, and those interiors inspire the backdrops for my pieces.
How would you describe your signature style and technique?
I think being a fashion stylist has given me a love of people, so my art, so far, has centred on portraits. I’m all about capturing an emotion that shifts how the viewer feels too. My pieces are mixed media, combining vintage wallpapers with textured paint and dancing brush strokes (I paint to loud jazz!). In fact, I’ve definitely become known as a wallpaper lady. I get DMs all the time from followers with vintage wallpaper they’ve found for sale or in a home somewhere. Those Windrush living rooms were known for busy patterns and colours across the walls and floors. So, it’s so important to me to include that nudge of nostalgia in every piece.
Are there any exhibitions or events you are planning?
It is the 75th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving in the UK, heralding the start of the Windrush Generation. So I am planning my first solo show to support this monumental celebration later this year.
What is the best advice you received as an artist?
“Be yourself”, a simple word of advice, but for a relative newbie to the industry, it’s a reminder not to worry about sounding suitably ‘arty’ or cerebral and rather focus on sharing my art practice with sincerity and passion. I am not in competition with anyone but myself, so as long as I keep doing what brings me joy, not what I expect others or the industry wants, I will keep thriving.
For more information please visit Yvadney’s website.
Follow Yvadney Davis on Instagram for latest updates.
READ ANOTHER SIMILAR STORY HERE.
From innovative social retail, disruptive beauty brands to natural luxe interiors and maximalist art, this edition is a must-read for any creative.
£8.00 + POSTAGE
Sign up and receive £50 off once we launch.