We had the good fortune of connecting with Sureya Davis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sureya, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk taking is an essential part of success. I always tell my students that without it, one runs the (dare I say) risk of missing out on their potential. Taking risks can be scary, sure, but it has also played an integral part in my life and my career. For example, if I hadn’t taken the risk to attend art school rather than major in something more “practical”, my whole life and happiness would look vastly different. If I hadn’t taken the jump to apply/ask for the teaching positions I am currently in, I don’t even know what life post college would look like for me. It’s absolutely worth it to take the leap, what’s the harm in trying?

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Creativity has always been a good friend of mine. Growing up as a military brat with a dad in the Marine Corps and a childhood that consisted of moving around frequently, my two sisters and I were often left to find unique ways to keep ourselves entertained. For my older sister, it was her love for baking and learning new languages, my little sister, sharpening her intellect, and for me, well I always found myself happiest when I was creating. This drive to draw/paint lasted longer than any of the other creative endeavors that I attempted. It went further than begging my parents for a guitar and then refusing to take lessons, or spending late nights writing stories that never seemed to have any endings. It lasted through my lack of interest in traditional school and eventually fueled my drive to apply to a college that helped to propel my imagination forward. Getting to where I am now, I can’t say was easy. My lack of interest in traditional learning was the caused of many problems in grade school and although my grades were less than desirable, opting out of college wasn’t the best option in my family. So when the time came for me to pick where I would go for school, traditional university was out of the question and art school was in. While attending the Laguna College of Art+Design (LCAD) I found a voice as an artist. Portraiture became a huge focus. These portraits weren’t only of faces though, since stability wasn’t always an option growing up, I found structure in my family, new friendships and objects that I saw everyday. So my work became just that: traditional portraits of familiar faces as well as mundane objects. This interest in painting the ordinary has followed me into my post college years and while I can see it staying with me for a while, I can’t say for certain that the body of work I am creating now will be my only one moving forward. Recently, the mediums that I’ve been working with are broadening, my approach to painting/drawing is shifting and so is my subject matter. Myself as well as my artwork are entering an era of change. I’m not exactly sure what direction that change is taking me, but I’m along for the ride and like the (un) reliable friend my creativity is, I can’t wait to see what direction it will take me.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What I’ve always loved about California is that everything is at arms reach. In one day, I can spend a morning in the mountains taking in the views from the ski lift, the afternoon at the beach, eating tacos and basking in the sun, and the evening exploring the nightlife of any one of the big cities Southern California has to offer. The options are endless. So if given a whole week to explore with my best friend, I would show them the uniqueness of this state. The beaches are a given. Laguna Beach, Balboa Island, and Coronado Island are three top beach areas that we would visit and if we have time, the griminess of Venice and the pier in Santa Barbara are also worth seeing. When it comes to mindless fun, Disneyland/downtown Disney are a must, exploring the art museums in LA would also make the list, and hopping around the different areas of San Diego could fill an entire day. With all the fun though, we would need food to fuel our energy and when it comes to food in Southern California, the choices are just as vast. California is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines and just as exploring what makes Southern California so special is a must, so is trying out the variety of different foods. While in San Diego, one has to get Mexican food, in Venice, a donut shop in called Blue Star is definitely worth checking out, and LA houses some of the most unique/delicious dishes in our country, Italian, Asian, and Caribbean included. And when the days are over, spending some of our nights checking out the night skyline from the rooftop bars in LA seem fitting. All that said, I think this imaginary best friend (all my best friends are fairly familiar with California) would be in for a ride if given this opportunity..

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to my parents for supporting me, no matter how out there my interests might look to them and all the instructors I met throughout my journey at the Laguna College of Art+Design (LCAD) for continually helping to guide me.

Website: sureyadavis.com
Instagram: _sureya_
Linkedin: Sureya Davis

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