The Bronx is burning.

Puzzle: /verb/cause (someone) to feel confused because they cannot understand or make sense of something.

“one remark he made puzzled me”

This article is made possible with generous support from Chelsea Classical Studio.


rad Davis has been a Scholarship member of the Salmagundi Club since 2020. He received his BFA in painting

from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2016 and his MFA in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2018. Davis’ work has been featured in shows both nationally and internationally, including a group exhibition in 2020 at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. His work is in public and private collections such as the Union League of Philadelphia and Capital One Bank. Currently, Brad lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he teaches at the University of Cincinnati and Manifest Drawing Center.

Great effort is exhausted when we stop casually walking by the world around us. Social media builds up this idea that others live in ideal conditions — resulting in some pressure to feel pressure to be perfect; just like everyone else.

Brad Davis stops to engage. His work seems to focus on the other things — not perfection. A friend of mine was excited over the summer of finding Brad painting a totaled, abandoned car — suggesting he is someone who everyone should know about.

A portable easel/case hybrid is set up outside with a painting of an abandoned pickup truck, juxtaposed against the actual subject.

How does it feel to be seen?

I feel like being seen is a way of being understood. When I am painting, I am hoping to see and not to look. Looking is passive, but seeing requires some degree of mutual engagement between subject and observer.

What does it mean to you to value yourself?

I think that valuing yourself means seeing and understanding the benefits of your existence relative to others. Knowing that your actions affect the actions of those around you can be a catalyst for a purpose-filled life.

How do you know when you’ve found a good idea?

I know I’ve found a good idea when I have to stop what I’m doing and draw it out. Good ideas come to me through directly lived experience and nothing else.

A portable easel/case hybrid is set up outside with a painting of a broken down car, juxtaposed against the actual subject among several differently colored cars.

Brad Davis on his work:

How do you define the words “Abandoned” and “Abandonment”? (Is there a distinction for you?)

To me, the word abandoned is tied specifically to one thing or place. However, abandonment might speak more about a state of being which could relate not only to a place or object, but to an area or feeling. I am more interested in the concept of abandonment and how this could bridge between several subjects.

A portable easel/case hybrid is set up outside with a painting of a broken down car, juxtaposed against the actual subject.

What would make the world a better place?

The world would be a better place if more people took time each day to sit with their surroundings. I grow each day in my appreciation and respect for my community by standing out in it, easel before me, studying the wonders of pavement and all who encounter it.


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