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 and became suicidal and 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 killed in an automobile accident caused by someone who ran a traffic light. Brenda’s anxiety and depression then returned.
At the age of 28, Brenda married the father of her two young sons and they purchased a double-wide mobile home to live in as a family. In March of 2005, their home was invaded by some masked men who shot her husband six times. Her oldest son was also shot once. The two spent months hospitalized and are both still disabled from the incident. During this time, the family’s mobile home was repossessed by a finance company and they lost their home and all of their belongings. The family took shelter in an abandoned shack that was without benefit of electricity or running water and lived there for several years until 2007.
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 began “to dictate” what she was to draw. The symbolic meanings and titles of works also come with these dreams. “They won’t let go of me until I get it down on paper.” Brenda’s art was discovered and became pursued by collectors.
Through the success of her art, her family acquired another double-wide mobile home which was put in the same place as the former mobile home.
Her works are in many important collections and five of her paintings have been accepted into the permanent collection of Atlanta’s High Museum.