Sculptor Andy Davis inspires teen artists

In Press, Sculptures by Andy Davis

Kayleigh Dickson has been interested in art since she was seven. The Ola High School junior beamed when she learned a master sculptor, Andy Davis, was visiting her school to talk about the finer points of art. "Making something with your hands is a really unique experience...to create something from nothing," said Dickson. "What he does lasts forever, and not many people can do that -- make what they see." Dickson, whose interests lie in pottery, sculpting and drafting, was one of about 50 students who listened intently Wednesday during a presentation by Davis. "I'm a master sculptor, but I still go back to the basics all the time. Don't you ever forget your basics," Davis told the group in stressing a need to use an anatomy book to help when sculpting. He has been a sculptor for 12 years. Davis talked of one world-renown sculptor, Vincent van Gogh, a self-taught, Dutch post-impressionist painter, hailed for his use of colors. One of his most famous works, "The Starry Night," was created while he was in a mental asylum, according to historians. "Vincent was not crazy. His art was his therapy. My art is my therapy for me," Davis told the budding artists. Davis used his visit to display a new sculpture of Van Gogh. He also said he is working on a sculpture of Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, to be unveiled this summer in Amsterdam. Davis, 48, lives in McDonough, and owns the Andy Davis Gallery and Studio at 261 Griffin St. He has won accolades for his works in Georgia, and elsewhere. He discussed a sculpture of singer Ray Charles, which was unveiled in 2009 in Albany, Ga. Leaders in the South Georgia city were so impressed, a "plaza" was created on a four-acre tract of land, to surround it, Davis said. He told the students that art was a therapeutic venture for him, and he wanted to help them maintain a commitment to achieving their artistic goals. "I'm not here for myself, to have any gain," Davis said. "It's ... for them. I think that I would like to have been a high-school student, and have somebody come by when I had the spark of interest, of being an artist. It could have changed my life. "Sometimes it doesn't matter how quickly you get to a particular destination, as long as you get there," Davis continued. Dottie Eskew, art teacher and Art Club sponsor at Ola High, was grateful to Davis for sharing his skills with her students. "They need to realize that even within our community, we have working artists who create masterpieces, and earn money [in] a creative career," Eskew said. "So many times, the fine arts are not considered a career goal to pursue. I want my students to know that, yes, it's important, and you can be all you are meant to be." Jesse Harlan, a senior at Ola High School, who is the president of the Art Club, said he has been interested in art since he was in the sixth-grade. "I had a favorite cartoon, and I kept trying to draw it," said Harlan. "Finally, I learned how, and I kept drawing that same picture over, and over, again, until I got it." Harlan, who specializes in drawings and paintings, said he is considering sculpting, after hearing Davis' presentation. "Being an artist, I know what he's talking about, and I want to achieve that one day," said Harlan. "The way he feels the paintings, and how it's therapy for him, I feel that. I'm the same way." Danielle Freeman, a junior at Ola High, agreed with Harlan. "He (Davis) is able to inspire so many people, and he's so successful doing what he does," said Freeman. "It's really inspiring to me, because that's what I want to do. I want to be an artist."

By Jason A. Smith | jsmith@henryherald.com

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