By Gabe Moore
Rodrecas “Drek” Davis, head of Grambling State University’s visual and performing arts department, is a professional artist who has a passion for the arts that tells a story of human interaction through his paintings.
The show “Many Rooms: The South Got Something to Say” features Davis’s work and is currently on display at the Masur Museum in Monroe.
“I’ve been making stuff since I was a child, starting in kindergarten, I started focusing more in the sixth grade during extra curricular art class. It was then I realized I could have more access to do more things in that area that I never did before,” Davis said. “I began working for the school newspaper where I did illustrations, and also took an AP Art class in high school, that’s what laid the foundation in a lot of ways for the direction I wanted to go in as an undergrad in college.”
During his time as an undergrad, Davis knew that art was something that he wanted to do but had no idea that this would be something he would be doing professionally.
“That’s not something that crossed my mind. I know I was going to school to major in art but I really wasn’t sure.” Davis stated. “The program I was in was primarily geared towards people coming to find artists to go into art exhibits full time as a profession. I wanted to get into art education while in grad school. Grad school helped me change and refine what I thought about doing with my art to take it to the next level, which is how I got into teaching.”
Davis said that teaching may have been a first love but he had no idea how to identify it. Although unsure, while he was in junior high, he knew he wanted to know the possibilities of using art as a teaching tool.
“It made sense to me, while I was in grad school, if I was going to be doing something professionally that it would more than likely be in the education field,” Davis said.
To be an artist among other artists today, some could agree that art is sometimes hard to perceive, but most art has an underlying message.
“All the work that I do to some degree deals with the way that human beings interact with each other and how we see ourselves in the society that we live in. The relationships that we have in regards to how we move on the day to day basis.” Davis said. “Regardless of what the medium is, it’s dealing with peoples internal consideration of those things externally, through politics, religion and self identification.”
Like most artists there is inspiration and influence drawn from some part of everything surrounding us. As observed, many of Davis’ works are relative to African American society and culture.
“Hip hop culture in a broad sense and music inspires me as far as subject matter and imagery is concerned, a lot of my work and my course is directly and/or indirectly influenced by being a black man in the south,” Davis said.
Davis’s work, “Many Rooms: The South Got Something to Say,” will be on display at the Masur Museum located at 1400 S Grand Street in Monroe until Nov. 6.
This article originally appeared in The Gramblinite.
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