artistry of the impossible

Joe Davis

His childhood was marked by illness. But it was also marked by an artistry that brought him out of his illness. He began writing, creating stories. They were stories of darkness reflecting his reality but they were also stories of hope. He wrote of superheroes who triumphed over seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He saw himself in these characters, finding victory amongst the struggle.

Today, Joe Davis continues his artistry as a writer, speaker, performer, and poet. Art has a way of transforming the world and ourselves he says. It offers liberation. Art is a means of exploration and in that exploration is the possibility of finding the knowledge that there’s a way to exist beyond what other people may tell us. Joe sees it as a reminder that we have control over our identities and personal narratives. We can’t chose what happens around us, but we can choose how to respond.

Conjoining art and activism, Joe sees every moment as a prayer. “Sacredness exists beyond church walls.” Every moment possesses immense value; every moment is sacred. Recognizing this, Joe can’t help but make a statement in his creativity.

We all have a way of making beauty, joy; making something out of nothing within us.
— J.D.

He says that artistry has the ability to bring us to a place of vulnerability, openness and receptivity. Vulnerability can be a beautiful thing if it’s shared. It brings to light our humanity in all of its beauty, ugliness, goodness, terribleness…

“Art makes possible what might otherwise be impossible.” It opens up space for deeper conversations, deeper explorations of what it is that defines us.

Much of Joe’s work focuses on the fact that community is largely what defines our identity. Yes, we have control over what we’d like our identity to be individually and art plays a significant role in the realization of this, but we are all, to some extent, a product of our environment.

“The god in me needs the god in you” go the lyrics to Hold On, a reflective, passionate piece about finding strength and hope in one another.

Looking at the news on any given day is enough to clearly point out the negatives of humanity. But a shift in focus to our local communities brings us into contact with something deeper. “When I look at [the community],” reflects Joes, “I don’t see endless violence. I see human beings who care about their families and the world and working to cultivate liberation and freedom.”

Freedom is found when we recognize the power we each possess. “We’re not all-powerful, but we’re all powerful.” We’re not all-powerful in the sense that we each have limits, but every person has power. The ability to use that power is dependent in part on those around us. This is where Joe’s passion for diversity and love comes in.

“Love is the most radical, transformative power in the universe.” Love wins by converting enemies into friends and eventually into a community. And in the long run, the strongest communities are ones of diversity. It’s just a matter of working together through that diversity.

But the term ‘diversity’ can easily be romanticized. We often have this conception of it as something that’s “out there,” something exotic almost. But it’s already here. Looking inward and around us locally, we still find diversity and differences amongst ourselves. Joe talks about how culture is more than simply skin color. It’s age, class, different abilities, different ways of thinking, different opinions and beliefs…

The god in me needs the god in you.
— J.D., Hold On

Learning to be vulnerable together opens the door to an honest exploration of that diversity, an exploration that doesn’t judge without first critiquing our self.

Joe’s poetic wisdom shines the light on this exploration. It’s a journey with a long history that’s only just beginning.