Phil Davison has stitched life into a graphic medium once considered dead, with his unorthodox cross-stitch designs, which reflect his peculiar thought processes and life experiences.
Unravel his fascination with skulls, for example, which inspire his present body of work; and the final thread would lead you to his history of studying genetics and his work experience in a mortuary. He explains: “As grotesque and morbid as it seems, there is something intrinsically beautiful and enthralling about the skull. Referred to as “the temple of the soul” by da Vinci, the skull contains ones hopes, dreams, fears, and every aspect of what it is to be human, and that which makes each person unique.” To Davison that is something very special that relates to every person allowing them to draw their own meaning from each piece on display. And this is evident in his approach to sharing his vision; for he actively encourages his “followers” to freely interpret each piece he designs in a way that is meaningful to their personal experiences. This in turn, helps to explain his very diverse following.
Davison’s designs are also quite varied and not confined to skulls only, his visual universe being a mix of street art and popular culture. Davison is really inspired by image reproduction techniques; focusing on a configuration, be it in photography or a printing process. Phil attempts to see if, and how, it can be recreated in cross-stitch. This is a challenge in itself, as cross-stitch is constructed using a very meticulous method, which involves its own set of unique constraints. But it is exactly these challenges that push his work forward.
Some of Davison’s pieces can take up to 8 months of hand stitching to complete. To accurately render and mimic in cross-stitch the original technique that inspired its conception demands a high level of precision. It is exactly this dedication to precision, acquired over a decade of working in couture fashion, which drives his evolution of the craft into the realm of fine art.
“I like making people smile, and when I see that glint of amusement and disbelief in someone’s eyes the moment they realise that what they are looking at is an intricately hand-stitched piece, that’s the moment that makes my endeavours worthwhile.” Phil Davison.
Notes about Phil Davison
· Artist Phil Davison, a Central Saint Martin’s alumni whose attention to detail and eye for precision gained him positions working, for nearly a decade, with top fashion designers such as Ozwald Boateng and Vivienne Westwood. Davison has garnered attention internationally with his unorthodox cross-stitch art work.
· Davison’s years of meticulous training and enthusiasm for art, culminated in him pursuing the development his own successful brand Urban Cross Stitch.
· Since 2008 Urban Cross Stitch has revolutionised the world of craft. Catering to the demand of a younger generation for cross stitch kits tailored to their contemporary aesthetic.
· Phil Davison’s ever expanding interest in design lead to the conception of a second brand The Urbanite Home in 2014. Davison utilises a lateral approach to design, creating highly desirable, functional furniture from repurposed industrial oil drums.
· In august of 2014, Davison debuted his innovative cross-stitch art work at Con Artist gallery in New York City, and was hailed as “the Banksy of cross-stitch” by Time Out New York magazine.
· Davison has since exhibited his work at 100% Design for London Design Week 2014, during Belfast Fashion Week 2014 alongside Designer Una Rodden, and most recently at ICFF as part of New York Design Week 2015.