Turning Online Conversations into Art

Gaithersburg collage artist Sandra Davis' recent work is a response to current events being discussed on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Gaithersburg collage artist Sandra Davis
Photo by David Stuck

In our August-September issue, we spoke with four Black artists based in Montgomery County about their creative endeavors. Each artist draws inspiration from their own personal experiences and childhood upbringing to craft pieces that speak to themselves and others.

During Black History Month we will be revisiting those stories. Here, collage artist Sandra Davis of Gaithersburg shares the meaning behind her artwork.

When I first started doing the collages and using the scraps of paper, I didn’t really have a lot of money for supplies. But I was a consistent subscriber to fashion magazines. I love the fashion magazines. Originally, it started with, “These are the materials that I have at hand, and I’m going to use them to create something different.” I’ll pull things together and create something new.

I think there’s also part of our history. If you look back into the African American experience, especially early on, a lot of times we were given the leftovers. We were given the scraps. We were given the leftover pieces of something. We’ve learned to make do and take the scraps or take the leftovers and create something new and different.

A lot of my work is very specific around the African American female experience. They are mostly African American women-centric. A lot of my work is female related and on female figures.

I have a couple of iconic people that I’ve done. There was one that was on Angela Davis. Her afro was very iconic, right? You did not see or hear or read of something about Angela Davis without recognizing that infamous afro. The opinions on her were also very black and white. You loved her or you thought that she didn’t represent the African American community in the way it should be.

Recently, my work has turned into things that are found online. There’s so much talk happening around [certain topics] and it isn’t just COVID-19 and police brutality.

A couple years ago, with the election of Donald Trump, there have been so many conversations around racism, what’s right and what’s good. The tweeting. The texting. My recent work has moved into all of that talk and what’s on my mind.

I hadn’t thought about it until recently, where my work was going in a direction that was more call and response. I’m working on responding to things that are taking place in the environment. Things that are happening on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s a direct response that I’m having to that.


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