Willis 'Bing' Davis: On the Shoulders of Those Who Came Before



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A Nugget Factory Production
This was one of the first video productions by the Indianapolis Museum of Art New Media team. Check out a blog post by them.

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Willis “Bing” Davis
Who is Bing?

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Bing Davis Art Studio
Find out more about Bing Davis and his studio.

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found object
What does a “found object” mean in an art context?

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African art
See works of African art from the Indianapolis Museum of Art collection.

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Portable shrine
See other types of portable shrines.

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Middle passage
Learn specifics about the Middle Passage.

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New world
Do you remember your history? If not read more here…

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Rosa Parks
Who was Rosa Parks?

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The installation process for the exhibition
Read about various types of exhibitions.

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Seven Spades by Donald Lipski
See another work composed of found objects in the IMA contemporary art collection.

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another exhibition
Discover another exhibition by Bing.

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IMA homepage
Go to the IMA homepage

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Bing Davis is a contemporary artist who uses "found" objects to create beautiful works with ties to varying African peoples culture and art. This video was made for an installation of Bing Davis' artwork at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Bing Davis talks of his work, his past and his passions.

i individually know next to nothing about art,but i know a little bit about excellent individuals. google is an remarkable specialist the art experts tell us, but as a former undergraduate at colonel white-colored secondary university type of 62, and a buddy who has followed bing's profession for 45 decades, i am certified to tell u that dr. willis google davis is GOOD PEOPLE. he is EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE. Thats good one. http://orphansponsorship.webstarts.com/orphan_sponsorship.html?r=20121017064319/
I attended Central State University for a short time in 1986/87. I was sitting in the Art Department Auditorium drawing a picture of Paul Robeson with his arms wrapped around the Music and Arts Department building. Dr. Davis asked what art class I was taking and when I told him I was not in an art class, but that I was a computer science major he was shocked. He pulled me out of my seat and took me on a tour of the department while telling me he was the Dean of the Art Department, and then I was shocked. He gave me a student work study job as his assistant. How cool is that! That was a Hugh moment for me, one that I have never forgotten. Someone of his stature took time to talk with me and take me under his wings. He is so down to earth and genuinely nice. Bing allowed me to design and cast my first ring, which I still have today. He actually allowed me to change the ring carving process used in that art class that day. He inspired me to want to inspire others. Bing is such a humble artist whose art speaks volumes without saying a word. He’s a great man and a wonderful friend. Thanks for this presentation. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him or his amazing creative work.
I was an Art student of Mr. Davis' at Colonel White H.S. in 1965, He was always my favorite teacher, and pesonel friend as well. He inspired my creativity all throughout my life. He was a wonderful (to put it mildly) teacher, as well as a man. I'll remember him for the rest of my life fondly. I remember a project he gave me. It was a collage on black posterboard with torn out words from magazines to form a story of my life. It was as much fun as it was insightful. Cheers to Bing Davis!!
i personally know next to nothing about art,but i know a little bit about good people. bing is an exceptional artist the art critics tell us, but as a former student at colonel white high school class of 62, and a friend who has followed bing's career for 45 years, i am qualified to tell u that dr. willis bing davis is GOOD PEOPLE. he is EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE. he is a man, a BIG MAN, going thru this life helping some of us little people feel good about ourselves, belive in ourselves, and work on our own selves to eventally become good people. NOW WHY WOULD I SAY THAT? WELL BECAUSE THATS HOW I FEEL WHENEVER I CAME INTO CONTACT WITH DR. WILLIS BING DAVIS, A GOOD MAN, A BIG MAN, AND AN EXCEPTIONAL MAN. OH YEA, HE IS A FINE ARTIST ON THE SIDE. HIS FIRST PROFESSION IS TO SHOW US WHAT GOD CONSIDERS "GOOD PEOPLE'. PERRY GLENN MILLS

“…art not only is wonderful as a personal expression, but it’s an ideal way to understand self and understand others.” The previous quote is from Willis “Bing” Davis. Willis 'Bing' Davis: On the Shoulders of Those Who Came Before is a video about understanding and incorporating art and concepts of the people who came before you into your own art and concepts.
Willis Bing, a contemporary artist, is a great example of what art is. His art is a great example of what my art class final project is meant to be. He reflects on what others have done and incorporates it into his work, but in a completely different way. That is true art. He uses ordinary objects and displays them in unordinary ways. He uses what may be seen as another person’s trash to create his treasure. This makes the viewer think and imagine. Bing states that his purpose is to honor and praise ancestors and those who did not make it to the New World or America (his work depicts traditional African art). He wants viewers to feel something beyond the ordinary and reflect on what they see. This reflection should, in turn, bring honor and praise to those who can before us, such as Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and even people like our grandparents. So, all in all, I have learned that I should reflect of what those before me did because it has allowed me to be where I am today.

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00:00:07 [Music]

00:00:21 And so I found that art not only is wonderful as a personal expression, but it's an ideal way to understand self and understand others.

00:00:41 Bing's show is a great example of a show in which an artist has taken parts of their culture and their personal lives and their surroundings

00:00:52 and their community and built it in as part of his work and as part of his thought process.

00:00:57 [Music]

00:01:17 In my exhibits and how I make my art, it's inviting for the average person because they see ordinary everyday things, just used in a different way

00:01:27 and so it's a little bit demystifies and takes away that fear of looking and then they begin to see how one person utilizes that common material.

00:01:38 I think what appeals to the average person is the use of familiar objects, and he turns them from being very familiar objects into something that looks like it's a part of a traditional African work of art.

00:01:56 All these kinds of rituals that were part of my past and part of many peoples past, can be picked up indirectly or felt when it's assembled in such a way.

00:02:07 This Portable Shrine in Homage to the Middle Passage is really about me giving honor and praise to my ancestors,

00:02:17 but also to those who did not make it to the new world and by my presence here that I know someone made it,

00:02:24 I don't know who it was but someone made it.

00:02:28 What I want the viewers to feel is something beyond the ordinary. I'd want them to stop, pause, reflect and then that reflection,

00:02:38 hopefully, give honor and praise to those who went before and those on whose shoulders they stand.

00:02:44 So, as people stand there, they may say I remember Rosa Parks, I remember Martin Luther King, I remember Malcolm X, whoever they want to recall, I remember grandma.

00:02:56 I think that with Bing his interest in addressing multiple ages and his interest in addressing people with varying amounts of art experience

00:03:08 or understanding about art, that whole sense of teaching and being a part of people's lives, making art a part of their lives, is sort of contagious.

00:03:19 And so it has been a whole journey of love and involvement in something that I just feel forcibly to be involved with and that's creativity and artistic expression.

00:03:30 So, it has followed me all along the way, and I just made that commitment in 5th grade...I don't know what else I am going to do, but I am going to make art.

00:03:38 [Music]