Otha “Vakseen” Davis III | @vakseenart Los Angeles
What does your work teach us about the power of relationships and the idea we’re all connected and closer than we might first think?
Relationships are everything and my art relies on that connection. I honestly believe all art does. Self-image and diversity are consistent themes in my work so from inception to reception, my art revolves around people, experiences and personal connections. Growing up overweight, I always dealt with selfconfidence or image issues and that’s something that so many people can relate with. Especially with the importance we place on outer appearances as a society. So even the way I juxtapose my portraits represents the fragmentation within us all as we strive for acceptance. I think it’s the power of this personal connection that allows someone to fully appreciate my art, my message and ultimately see the value in owning it.
How do we look past heteronormative expectations of love and see the power of a human connection?
So much has changed since I was a kid, but we still have a long way to go to see true equality. I think it boils down to real conversations like these that help create the dialogue, inspire change and ultimately force the hands of pop culture. From an entertainment perspective, you see so much more authenticity in the media that reflects acceptance. I think people are finally understanding that the world is a big place, everyone moves differently and you can only control your own life. At the end of the day, who cares what the next person does if it’s not impacting you?
What’s the one thing you’d like to know or learn from others creating art around the world too?
I just want to know their perspective. The world is so much bier than my personal experiences so there’s always room to learn. That’s so important to me as someone who appreciates diversity. I love traveling, eating and appreciating culture from around the world. Gaining new perspectives is what life is all about.