What Am I Reading: Alex Davis

STIR looks into the reading habits of leading creatives – Indian artist Alex Davis tells us his experience of reading Vitamin D3: Today's Best in Contemporary Drawing by Phaidon editors.

by STIRworldPublished on : Sep 15, 2021

Name of the book you are currently reading.

Alex Davis (AD): Vitamin D3: Today's Best in Contemporary Drawing.

Who is the author?

AD: Phaidon editors, Louisa Elderton and Rebecca Morrill.

What is the genre?

AD: The Vitamin series by Phaidon is perhaps the most authentic documentation and presentation of today’s art practice from all around the world.

Front cover of Vitamin D3: Today's Best in Contemporary Drawing | What Am I Reading: Alex Davis | STIRworld
Front cover of Vitamin D3: Today's Best in Contemporary Drawing Image: Alex Davis

Do you judge a book by its cover?

AD: I most definitely do. As an artist and creator, I think visually most of the times and aesthetics matter a lot to me. It is like reading people on first glance – if the book’s cover intrigues me, I will pick it up.

What made you pick it up? Can you highlight any notable aspect of the book’s design aesthetics, typography, images…?

AD: The whole series is well researched and collated and features a balanced content of the intellectual and the visceral, predicting the best of contemporary artists of tomorrow. A good survey and feed for an artist or a critic in the field. D3 explores diversity in drawing and art in its selection of 100 global artists who have been nominated by a global panel of more than 70 international art experts such as Hans Ulrich Obrist and Iwona Blazwick.

V3 is a curated collection of the best of modern drawings that shows how the medium has elevated itself over the past 50 years | What Am I Reading: Alex Davis | STIRworld
V3 is a curated collection of the best of modern drawings that shows how the medium has elevated itself over the past 50 years Image: Courtesy of Phaidon.com

Your most favourite part(s) of it?

AD: The inclusion of some of the Indian artists in the book. The collection of the best of modern drawings shows how the medium has evolved and elevated itself over the past five decades, and it is wonderful to peruse and understand that journey, with perfect, cited instances and illustrations.

Did you gain any insight, or did it help you unwind?

AD: Honestly, this is not a book for unwinding but rather, the right avenue to learn, when you are in a serious study mode. Some of the entries can be rather challenging to get your head around. It is not a breezy read.

Your favourite lines to quote from the book.

AD: As Giorgio Basari puts it - “Drawing is the parent of our three arts: Architecture, Sculpture and Painting”.

A bookmarked page from Davis’ copy of V3 | What Am I Reading: Alex Davis | STIRworld
A bookmarked page from Davis’ copy of V3 Image: Alex Davis

At what time of the day do you read?

AD: I read when I feel like, I do not have a fixed schedule for it. I might read for an hour or 10 minutes; I might read before bed, while travelling, on the breakfast table, or sometimes skip it all together. I do not think it is right to force yourself to read at times you do not feel like reading – it is a disservice to yourself and the body of work at hand.  

Hard books, e-books or audio/video books?

AD: Like I mentioned, neither the timing nor the formats matter to me. Depends on my mood.

Davis and his bookshelf | What Am I Reading: Alex Davis | STIRworld
Davis and his bookshelf Image: Alex Davis

One book or book adaptation as a film that you always want to go back to.

AD: I am a great fan of most of the works done in film media by American painter and filmmaker, Julian Schnabel. He injects the right amount of irreverence into everything, and it is fascinating to witness that.

Look up more such interesting reads from the series ‘What Am I Reading’ and watch out for more.

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