Rocky Davies was born an artist on the cusp of a cultural revolution: the 1980’s. The grand scale of movies, toys, cartoons, and comics influenced his skills and passions as he progressed from an amateur doodler to a full-time freelance artist and collector.
“I was always drawing and practicing my skills,” he says. “Things like drawing Star Wars, superheroes, and Ninja Turtles were just in my blood.”
Even today, these themes are a reoccurring inspiration for Davies’ work. On his self-titled website, rockydavies.com, you can find portfolios ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles promotions to graphics for board games to comic book-inspired paintings. Despite his diversity of pieces, his pop-culture influences are clear throughout his work.
“Pop culture art and character driven art are my favorite genres. I love the art that has a story and history behind it. When you create an action piece featuring an intense character, whether they are recognizable or not, the audience already has a huge reference point and weight behind it. It creates a quick connection and depth. I like that. I like trying to put a new spin on familiar things,” says Davies.
When it comes to his artistic style creating these pieces, Davies credits the experimental trend of the 80’s. “A funny inspiration has got to be the Trapper Keepers and airbrush folder art of the 80’s. So many highlights and gradients and neon colors. I loved movie poster art, too, comic art, toy boxes, cereal boxes. They took crazy risks in the 80’s,” he says.
This passion for pop-culture mixed with his artistic talent has taken Davies from the drawing board all the way to Nickelodeon, creating promotions for one of his childhood favorites.
A total dream come true was being contacted by Nickelodeon to do a bunch of promo art for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That was incredible. I ended up doing about 15 or so original pieces for them. It was a serious career highlight! I hope to do more with them!
Commercial success aside, Davies believes the greatest reward of his work remains with his love for art. “The biggest reward is when a piece comes together, when the crazy idea in your head actually sits there done before you. This is also coupled with the audience reaction. Nothing can top a well-received piece. To know that the same passion you poured into a piece is coming back at you from the fans,” he says.
I’ve been collecting from birth. My parents did a vicarious collection using me as the recipient and focus. My mom would fight for Star Wars figures fresh off the truck back in the early 80’s. She battled to get me my Ewok plush when the store pretended to have not received it. My parents spoiled me rotten and I grew up with toys everywhere.
With all of his enthusiasm for pop-culture, it’s no surprise that Davies is just as much an avid collector as he is an artist.
After a lifetime of collecting with thousands of pieces in his collections, Davies attests to the difficulty of picking a favorite. “I have thousands of toys, this is like asking about my favorite child! I will say I’ve always had a special soft spot for TMNT and MOTU. They always make me smile. For some reason, the Cave-Turtle Leo and Dingy Dino have always been my favorite, sitting in a prestigious spot on my desk,” he says. The complete USS Flagg ship sits at the top of his long list of most-wanted collectibles, including a complete Battle Beasts set and a large Krang android.
A happy medium of art and collectibles, Rocky Davies’ work, website, and social media presence is packed full of collectibles and the pieces that bring their characters to life. Be sure to check out his work on Instagram and on his website.
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