Size: 24"W x 48"H x 1"D
Year Created: 2017
Ready to Hang
This piece is inspired by the Harlem Renaissance Era. Painted on a wood canvas, the guitar remains the original wood grain appearance.
Who is Portia Davenport Just as Frida Kahlo famously said, “I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my reality,” Portia Davenport’s reality pushes passed nightmares and dreams and makes way to the strokes of her paint brushes. And though her reality reflects as a blend of acrylics on canvas, Davenport's art works are not realistic depictions of the world external to her. More importantly, they are interpretations of a world transcribed by who and what is internalized within her. After all, she herself says, "Reality is based on one's perspective.” And just as the expressions of perspectives are designed with specifics unique to what makes each artist who and what she is, Davenport’s paintings provide avenues leading directly from the persons and places she'd once been to whom and where she currently is. Her expressions on canvasses show the most current version of herself—the accumulative of all things that have guided her into this very place of artistic inspiration. Born and raised in Colorado, where she grew up playing on the vertebrae of the Rocky Mountains, picking up a paint brush was never once thought of by the younger Ms. Davenport. Instead it was jeep jamborees, conversations by campfires, and hiking expeditions. She’d moonlight in the streets of downtown Denver dressed in spaghetti-straps and heels, but she much preferred the rugged back country with rolled-up sleeves and hiking boots. And so it’s easy to see how Davenport eventually chose to join a branch of the United States Armed Forces, where she traded in spaghetti-straps for uniform shoulder straps, hiking boots for combat boots, and emerged a soldier from a camp different than those she’d set in the Rockies. In the U.S. Air Force, Davenport was introduced to a strength and a discipline that had largely lain dormant within her. Once awakened, however, they became every bit a part of who she is. And fortunately, these two beasts—Strength and Discipline—awakened when they did. Around this time Davenport was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that currently no cure exists for. Here, where many people would have given up on much of life, Davenport joined the ranks of those who refused to be a victim. A noticeable shift in her views developed where reflective people live in regret and anguish, Davenport looked forward without any such burdens. And perhaps this is why she chose an entirely different environment, one far away from both the foothills of the Colorado mountains and the footholds of a military career. Florida would be the place where Davenport would lose herself in a new celebration of life, for she had chosen to fight against all odds. She had chosen to remain positive in a place where many would have failed to do so. And the warm beaches and the sunny skies of America’s Sunshine State were a haven for this phoenix that had risen from the ashes of a despair she refused to know. Eventually those beach-day celebrations would come to an end. Though Davenport found a tribe in Florida, she longed for more adventure. And so after a short stint at the beach, Davenport looked onward and toward new challenges. She headed to a city surrounded by Mojave Desert mountain ranges, a city known to many as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” and yet known to others simply as “Sin City.” But yet she still longed for a sense of home. And it seemed as though the journeys she’d undertook had served their purposes anyway. They had molded a new version of Portia Davenport. Or, perhaps they nourished one that was hidden all along. Whatever the case, she returned home with a fresh outlook on life, one that showed the difference between being alive and living. These things are choices, this revamped Davenport discovered, because we all struggle; we all face obstacles and adversities. What makes us different from one another are the choices we make in how we deal with these things. People either carry scars like mules do yokes or they wear them like soldiers do medals. Ultimately, what emerges from all this is the perspective one has on life. And, to paraphrase Davenport again, perspective is what determines one’s reality. What marks she’ll leave or what tribe she’ll find remains unknown. What is known thus far of her new journey is that she is still growing, that she is still open to changes and challenges, that she is still as every bit alive and living as the day she chose to be so. And perhaps the greatest proof of such is found in her latest undertaking, where she discovered an artist lying dormant within her. For what was followed by her initial purchase of paints and brushes was not the idea of being a painter, but rather the idea that through these means reality could be transcribed into expressions based on who exactly Portia Davenport is. And that’s what the works of this newly awakened artist depict: the perspective of an ever-changing and incredible human being as she pushes herself beyond nightmares and dreams alike.