Grand Rapids, MI

Israel “Izzy” Davis is an artist, educator, musician, BMX biker, and skateboarding enthusiast who lives and works in Grand Rapids, MI. Davis has taught at the university level for over a decade and currently holds a position at Central Michigan University. He has presented more than 40 technical workshops and lectures nationally and internationally and has taught several summer intensives, including courses at Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, and Ceramica Artistica Prospettiva, Trieste, Italy. He has exhibited work in more than 100 exhibitions including venues such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans, New Orleans; LA, the Fort Wayne Art Museum, Fort Wayne, IN; and the Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA.

Artist Statement

My work is an investigation of the symbols, people, and objects that affect perceptions, the subconscious, and life experience. I approach art making as research into thought, memory, and play.  It is a study of metaphor through fantasy and authenticity.

This research is driven by the physicality of materials and the intersection of two and three-dimensions. My interests are in photography, digital imaging, drawing, and narrative while paying homage to traditional and non-traditional ceramic processes and archetypes. I enjoy the “search” and am invested in the cognitive spaces of art making. I seek to push the boundaries between object and image. I am concerned with dreams, dreaming, wanderlust, relationships, and particulars.

Though ceramics is a passion and plays a significant role in the art that I produce, my practice reaches into the realms of music, skateboard art, and digital fabrication while the objects that I make often incorporate non-ceramic materials and processes. I have an interest in the use of new and emerging technologies and am excited about intermingling them with traditional methodologies. My quest is to be active in the search and charged with the ambition to continue to progress.

“Progression” is a term often used by those who participate in action sports such as skateboarding.  In use it refers to such matters as learning new moves, breaking mental barriers, and practicing to hone one’s skills. I see parallels with artistic progression. One must be active in taking risks, asking questions, and learning the material to visualize ideas with confidence and competency.

There are endless problems to solve with ceramics. It requires technical proficiency to truly master it. I simply want to continue to progress as a maker. To try new things and maintain a license to engage in other materials, media, or processes as it fits the project. My work is largely project/series based and is varied in output.  For me, the work is an investigation of ideas and the physical elements that make up the aesthetic and conceptual quality of the work. Ceramics is not always the right choice because of its physical limitations, but sometimes it’s a good choice because of them.

Images of Work


Direct screen-printing and screen-printed transfers onto clay using Speedball underglazes

Favorite Products

Underglazes- Ease of use for all forms of application including screen-printing. Wide temperature range up to cone 10.

Detail and Glaze Brush Tools- quality brushes in a range of sizes with convenient clay tool ends attached.  I use them often.

Low-temp Earthenware Clear Glaze - an easy to use brush-on application, low-craze clear glaze that mates perfectly to Speedball underglazes.

Plastic Bats- Color coding is convenient for locating sizes, size range is great

Emulsion and Sensitizer- ease of use and quality of exposure, easy clean up

Emulsion Remover- makes reclaiming screens a snap, easy and convenient

20x24 Aluminum Screens 230Y mesh- potential for detailed images and quality of construction.

16” Scoop Coater- perfect size to coat 20x24 inch aluminum screen, two edges for thick or thin application of emulsion, convenient plastic cover to protect coating edges

Urethane Squeegees- perfect durometer with squared edge, great for graphic work with detail.  Perfect range of sizes as well.

Hinge Clamps- Tried and true, have used them for all my screen printing needs  for 17 years.

Beinfang Newsprint – Great for newsprint transfers onto clay