Julyan Davis is an English-born artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. He received his art training at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. In 1988, having completed his B.A. in painting and printmaking, he traveled to the South on a painting trip that was also fueled by an interest in the history of Demopolis, Alabama and its settling by Bonapartist exiles.
Julyan Davis is an English-born artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. He received his art training at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. In 1988, having completed his B.A. in painting and printmaking, he traveled to the South on a painting trip that was also fueled by an interest in the history of Demopolis, Alabama and its settling by Bonapartist exiles. Julyan’s work has been exhibited from New York to Europe and is in many public and private collections. Recent acquisitions include the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, the Greenville County Museum of Art (South Carolina), the Morris Museum (Augusta, Ga.) and the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion and Western Residence. His series ‘Dark Corners: The Appalachian Murder Ballads’, interpreting traditional American ballads through the contemporary South, has been touring regional museums since 2012 with accompanying lectures and musical performances. In 2018 he was artist-in-residence at the Gibbes Museum, where he began the book ‘The Mermaid Storm’ in collaboration with South Carolina poet Glenis Redmond.
2015 Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg, SC
2014 Myrtle Beach Museum of Art, SC
2013 Helena Fox Fine Art, Charleston, SC
2013 Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA
2012 Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
2012 Hickory Museum of Art (group show)
2012 Helena Fox Fine Art, Charleston, SC.
2011 The Bascom Art Museum, Highlands, NC
2011 Kiawah Island, SC
2010 Cabarrus Arts Council, Concord, NC
2009 Scope Art Fair, Miami/Amsterdam/London
2009 Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
2009 Greenhut Galleries, Portland, Maine
2009 Art London, London, UK
2008 Mauger Modern Art, Bath, UK
2007 Carolina Galleries, Charleston, SC
2007 Mason Murer Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2004 The Fine Arts Center, Highlands,NC.
2004 John Tucker Fine Art, Savannah, GA.
2002 Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
2001 Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, VT
1998 Francis Kyle Gallery, London, UK
1997 Entergy Building, New Orleans, LA
1995 First Street Gallery, New York, NY
1995 Atlantic Gallery, Washington, DC
1994 Mistral Gallery, London, UK
1993 Gadsden Arts Center, Gadsden, AL
1988 Poole Art Center, Poole, Dorset, UK
Our conversation this week is with Julyan Davis - artist, writer, narrative painter of the American South and West, explorer of lost stories, child of England and citizen of the world.
“If you’re able to find beauty in what everyone else doesn’t consider for a second, there’s a great richness in that. In a way you’ve made your own discovery.” In 1988, Julyan wandered into Sotheran’s Rare Books in London, England and discovered ‘Stars Fell on Alabama’ by Carl Carmer. Transfixed by the state’s history and a 19th century colony settled by Napoleonic exiles, he followed his curiosity to the source. After a few months spent working odd jobs and saving money, he set off on a great adventure from England to the American South – the untidy land of wistful melancholy that would shape his art and life. He’d eventually settle in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, finding in them a strange kinship and connection to his homelands.
When he was struggling to earn a spot at an art school, Julyan decided to take his own advice. He found the meeting point of all his particular interests and created a life there. He pursued his dream with conviction and certainty for so long that by the time he realized how difficult it would be, it was too late. He was an artist.
In this episode you’ll hear Julyan talk about his great adventure from England to Alabama, walking as a lifestyle, finding beauty where others don’t look, the never-ending story of American Ghosts, connecting Appalachia and the Scottish borders, the art of creating for yourself, creating a timeless children’s story for his son, and much more.
Location: Julyan’s home | Asheville, NC
Buy his debut novel, A History of Saints
Mentioned in this episode, for you to explore:
The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash
Excerpts from The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
Stars Fell on Alabama by Carl Carmer
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Dark on Netflix
The Storied South by William Ferris
The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
‘Weather Vane’ by Common Market
‘Language of My World’ by Macklemore
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Eugenics and Sex Harmony by Rubin Herman
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane