Toby Davis is an accomplished oil painter who has dedicated nearly three decades to the mastery of his craft. For the past ten years, he has mostly concentrated on cityscapes and landscapes. However, in the wake of the pandemic, Toby embarked on a new artistic journey that has expanded the horizons of his creative expression while remaining true to his unwavering goal of creating exquisite and engaging art.
Toby is represented by Capitol Contemporary Gallery in Boise, Idaho, and has a fine arts degree from Boise State University.
How and when did you start creating art?
Like many artists, I began my artistic journey during my childhood. However, it was in 1994 when I created my first oil painting, a landscape of rural Oregon. It was just a hobby until decided to pursue a fine art degree at Boise State University, which I successfully completed in 2008. I have been working as a professional artist for the past decade.
What media and genres do you work in?
I only paint oil paintings, but I also use a lot of photography and digital work to create my starting designs for reference - I almost always paint from a computer screen.
Who or what are your influences?
I have a huge net of influences. Usually so many that it is hard to reign everything in. All the past greats in oil painting for sure. At this point in my artist’s life, I tend to flitter around for influences based on what I’m painting.
It feels like a Wes Anderson film festival - each piece, or series, has a look that connects to me, but also has its own “flavor”- and I look for influences that will both play along with that flavor, but also some influences that will take things in an unexpected direction.
What was your inspiration for
During the pandemic, I started to feel the need to move away from my cityscape paintings into something more conceptual. “Flora” was an effort to take something very traditional like art nouveau, and try to put a modern spin on it.
Describe your creative process?
Every painting I paint is pretty planned out in photoshop before I start painting. My “thumbnails” and trials and errors all get worked out digitally and then transferred in oil paint. There are still changes and adjustments I make while painting, but most of it is already worked out on a computer screen.
The initial images are a collage of my photography, some found images, a little digital painting and alteration, and lately I’ve also been using artificial intelligence to create some of my references.
I’m not really interested in the things AI knows how to create - that’s boring. I’m extremely intrigued by the “mistakes” AI makes because it doesn’t know how to create something. I find the most beautiful things in the AI world are the things that it creates because it doesn’t understand what you’re talking about. It spits out a lot of things that I couldn’t comprehend as a human growing up in a rules-based reality. I have a hunch, that as it learns more, it will get worse and not as interesting - at least for the way I use it anyway.
What are you working on currently?
I’m going work on a series of these 36x36 paintings (I’ve done 4- maybe 6 more) and then move on to another project. I will keep the replacing paintings as they sell, so I always have a show ready, and hopefully I won’t even have time to move on to something else.
What are your near/long term goals as an artist?
Short term, I would like to have maybe three different series built up, and just paint to fill as things sell. I really think that I can paint enough to support two or three galleries, and long term I would like to find a couple more galleries who would be a good match for my art.
Where can people view/purchase your work (gallery, website, etc)?
I am represented by Capitol Contemporary Gallery in downtown Boise, Idaho. ( CapitolContemporary.com )
You can also find my work on my website - TobyDavisArt.com that has my current work and links to available work from the past.
Dreams of Paris
Dreams of Summer
All Images @ Toby Davis
All Rights Reserved
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