Week 4: Artist Conversation, Jan Talmadge Davids

Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibition: BFA Show

Media: Paperclay porcelain slip, Underglaze, and String

Gallery: CSULB, School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: None

Instagram: @jantalmadgedavids


Jan Talmadge Davids is her in mid 40’s and is an undergraduate pursuing a BFA in the CSULB School of Art’s Ceramics Program. She has been intrigued by and started pursuing art for the past 6-7 years of her life. Ms. Davids currently resides in Huntington Beach and was previously an Anthropology/Business major.


Jan’s piece of work “To Hold A Letter to the Light” was attention grabbing. It was creative, interesting, and beautiful, which made me want to learn more about it. Her artwork featured a bunch of her thoughts and writings hung down from the ceiling with string. The writings were featured on ceramic pieces that resembled envelopes and letters. The ceramics pieces were paperclay porcelain and had an underglaze applied to it. This underglaze allows Jan to actually use a glaze applicator to introduce her writing. The ceramic pieces were not straight and perfect. They showed the imperfections, which made it more realistic to the viewers. I believe that Jan wanted to keep her thoughts pure and as realistic to the moment as can be, such as some ceramic pieces that looked like ripped parts of an envelope. It is an interesting idea because it allows us to dive into her personal thoughts. Jan structured her artwork to have her thoughts displayed on letters, while her deeper thoughts were hidden within the envelopes. I thought that this was creative as I had to utilize a flash light to actually read the hidden message within. I fancied this because this idea compliments her artwork piece “To Hold A Letter to the Light”.


The motivating factor behind Jan’s artwork is that she felt like her family kept a lot of secrets. Jan wants to document her life for her two kids that are growing up. Some thoughts were deep, intimate, and private. She displayed her deepest thoughts within the envelope that required a flashlight to decrypt the message. Other thoughts she had were either not relevant or incomplete, she threw them into a small pile in the corner of the room. Overall, her thoughts were about the present and not the future.


Jan’s artwork resonates with me. I love aesthetically pleasing images, however, it is also intriguing when an artwork has a meaning or story behind it. I believe that her artwork definitely correlated to her title. Along with that, it creative as to how she brought her intimate thoughts and allowed the viewers to actually distinguish for themselves which were deeper. I definitely believe that the lighting of the room contributed to the ambiance of the art gallery. The concept of allowing others to enter her mind was established very well through the art work. I felt as if I was walking inside her brain and saw all of these thoughts just hanging around in her deep dark brain. Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with se3 presetProcessed with VSCO with se3 presetProcessed with VSCO with se3 preset




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