Self-Taught Art • Contemporary Folk Art • Outsider Art
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Visionary artist, Brenda Davis, was born October 3, 1962 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was one of nine children and grew up in Elmore County Alabama. She did not have a happy childhood and was put to work in the fields by her father to pick vegetables that he grew to sell. She was unable to learn to read or write in school and became suicidal. She was a “cutter” before she reached her teens. When she was in the 11th grade, she became severely depressed, had a nervous breakdown and then dropped out of school.
Brenda remembers that her Grandmother would tell of her vivid dreams and that they would come true. Her Grandmother interpreted certain symbols, the meaning of which also came to her during her dreams. When Brenda was 24, her Mother, Grandmother and an aunt were all killed in an automobile accident caused by someone who ran a traffic light. Brenda’s anxiety and depression from her adolescence returned.
At the age of 28, Brenda married the father of her two young sons and they began purchasing a double-wide mobile home to live in as a family. In March of 2005, their home was invaded by some masked robbers who shot her husband six times. Her oldest son was also shot once by a 9mm gun. The two of them spent months hospitalized and both remained disabled from the incident. Brenda lived at the hospital with them, assisting their recuperation. Unfortunately during this time, the family’s mobile home was repossessed by the finance company and they lost their home with all of their belongings inside. They had only three payments still due. When they were able to come home from the hospital, the family took shelter in an abandoned shack nearby that was without benefit of heat, electricity or running water. They lived there for several years.
It was during this time that Brenda had her first visionary experience. She was outside, “reflecting on the home invasion” when she heard the voice of God tell her, “Draw to comfort your mind.” She immediately began drawing obsessively and later began painting her drawings. Her dreams at night began to be all about her drawings and then her dreams began “to dictate” what she would draw. The symbolic meanings and titles of works often came with her dreams. “They won’t let go of me until I get it down on paper.” Brenda continues to draw and paint obsessively when she has the materials. Through success with her art, her family acquired another double-wide mobile home in 2008. It was set in the same place as their former mobile home.
Since this incident, Brenda has experienced numerous health problems and is single now. She adopted and is rearing two very young children, one is the daughter of her disabled son. The inside of her mobile home, she has transformed into an amazing continuous painting, covering walls, ceiling and floors. She sees in her dreams that it will be part of a Museum one day. Brenda continues to struggle with many issues but she remains upbeat about healing from cancer after having several series of chemotherapy.
Her works are in many important private collections. Several of her works have been acquired by the High Museum in Atlanta and are part of their permanent collection. Marcia Weber Art Objects has represented Brenda Davis since 2007 and has exhibited her art in New York, Atlanta, Santa Fe and Chicago as well as in Alabama.