"Written" by Alex Jungling
I’ve known Arvin K. Davis Jr., Little Red Liar, for about 15 years give or take. From days of being young and reckless teenagers, partying, D.I.Y. punk shows to the days of adulthood, trying to keep afloat without being dragged under. Throughout the years, watching Arvin grow his style into something I feel to be unique to who he is as an individual, usually, puts me into a moment of awestruck, considering where it began or may have begun. Being young and going to local punk shows, especially at first, is usually a very surreal experience. You start to hang out with different people and a lot of whom are probably in a band playing that evening.
Our first meeting, it was probably at a mutual friends house named Billy where he had been living. A house where a lot of us got together, most days, to hang out and just do whatever we wanted. At the time, he was in this band whom I would have come to see and love for years called Shining Black, or whatever it was called at that time. A great hardcore band, he was the vocalist and with no instrument in hand was given free reign to cause a little bit of chaos. The first few times I saw them I remember how animated he was while performing, screaming and moshing, usually hugging friends. The most vivid memory I have happened at the first job I ever had. Said band was about to head out for an out of town show and they happened to stop by to get some food before they hit the road. I wasn’t really paying attention to the front because of the station I was at, until a co-worker walks by and says there is some weirdo in a pink tiger suit in the front. Of course I had to look and it happened to be him, a little wild from the night before. “Oh, Whats’ up AJ!?” We talked for a bit before they had to leave. My co-workers all seemed confused. But that was my friend and maybe paints a picture to where he is now.
As time continued, interests were pursued and oftentimes achieved. He, along with our good friends Shawn and Charlie, convinced me to join my first band. We may not have been very good at that time but it was a lot of fun with memories still cherished. Learning to play bass alongside Arvin sometimes proved to be a struggle. His style of playing guitar, much like his style of most everything he does, is fitted towards him. It is usually leaning more towards the chaotic side, so to speak. The energy that exists within him, and you can tell by a basic conversation sometimes, always comes out into his art. Whether it be on a canvas, musically or whatever medium is given.
The year was 2010, I believe, when he had the idea of doing a magazine. The idea was to get as many writers, artists or what have you contributed to this full sized mega “Zine”. I had signed on to help and along with the help of many others there are four issues of Sperm Meets Egg. The first two, or maybe three were a little rough around the edges. The content within was gold but trying to get the best finished product was a bit of struggle. He worked really hard to put together a well thought out, glossy paged issue and succeeded with the fourth but final issue. I haven’t thought about Sperm Meets Egg in quite some time until I found some of the issues. Each issue had a theme. The first one was a free for all, the second one was music, the third one was called the Flood Issue dedicated to our town of Minot which flooded in 2011, and the fourth one was about animals? I don’t know. It’s all over the place.
With those issues of Sperm Meets Egg is the beginning of showcasing his work. When I look back at those issues and see the pieces he used, or drew up specifically for it, compared to now it is really interesting to look on. Throughout the years I have seen and been gifted drawings, fliers, and posters. When looked at, it has always been him, his style. I don’t even know exactly how much schooling or lessons he’s ever had in his life, if any, but when I see something of his I quickly identify it.
I don’t know exactly when he really started to focus on doing art full-time, well as full time as a person with a family of five can do, but hell I’m glad he did. Within the past few years the work put in has been significantly precise you could say. From a friend who has zero to a very little amount of knowledge towards the art world and terminology that exists within, I have to say that I have always been impressed. I’ll look at something he has created and try to see it through an outsider perspective, biases aside. Through the years of him collaborating with his kids as they have grown up. Letting them get as creative as they can on something and adding his own work over the top of it. Always working alongside them and had a series of pieces dedicated to it.
This work helped evolve into teaching workshops to a younger demographic about who you can be with art and not so much about what is expected. To having shows in NYC and to having a number of pieces written about his work, whether online or in print, about his process. All in all, his process appears to me to be about loving your family, your friends and doing whatever the hell you want. Keeping community in mind always and grounding yourself in a world that like-minded individuals have created. From first glance it might all seem like chaos but like with most things, if you look a little bit closer, you can find the good and the bad that you choose to see. I’ve never really been explained what his pieces are supposed to be but to find and develop what “I” think they mean. Well, I’ve found myself in more than a few in different ways than the person next to me and I continue to see different sides from each glance. Much like the young person in the pink tiger suit might seem a bit weird, there is always more to know and to learn for yourself. Embrace the weird and chaos.