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5 Things We Learned... Colin Davis



Colin Davis moved to London not long before I packed my bags to leave it. Our paths crossed on a project in 2017 and while I'm glad to hear he's enjoying the Big Smoke, I'm secretly plotting a way to move him to Amsterdam. Colin is kind, modest, clever, and forward-thinking. He currently works as an Executive Producer at Nexus Studios in London, leading the Interactive Arts Division. His team looks to leverage the power of storytelling to create never-before-experienced work, using innovative media and techniques with AI, machine learning, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

His award-winning career has overseen major integrated productions for companies such as Google, BBC, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Bose, Coca-Cola, LAX International Airport, Microsoft, FX Networks, Dove, Hershey, and Target. He won an Emmy for Showtime's Dexter (also earning two other nominations) and additional awards at the Cannes Grand Prix and Gold Lion and the One Show Gold Pencil for his work on the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

In short, London is very lucky.

Here are 5 Things We Learned about Colin.

What made you...you?

My childhood was split between science and design. My dad is a doctor and my aunt and uncle are graphic designers – I grew up with font specimen books and a professional microscope. I’ve kept these dual loves, and in my younger days, I often felt too nerdy for the art crowd and too arty for the nerd crowd. As an adult, I’ve found that my favorite people are those that straddle two (or more) worlds and it’s in that fusion of unlikely ideas comes the really brilliant ones. 

When are you happiest?

When I am learning. I have a hard time balancing learning given my workload and giving that part of my life the prioritization it needs. Learning literally energizes me and frequently gives me new and better tools to do my work, even if the topics seem wildly unrelated.

Would you rather have a muse or be a muse?

Definitely have a muse. I don’t like being the center of attention so can’t imagine anyone looking to me for inspiration. And having a muse means I am inspired and (hopefully) creating.

Who do you admire?

It’s a long list, but generally the people that I admire are those that continue to evolve their perspectives and change their minds. In my personal time, I try to take photographs and admire Erwin Olaf, Nick Knight and Tim Walker. The first two are continually pushing new boundaries but I love Tim Walker for his effort to physically create the moment and document it. Professionally, I admire people that are hard-working and a bit humble. I am wild fans of my two former co-workers Anthony Vitagliano and Mark Bashore. Anthony is ridiculously talented but has almost the anti-ego, always listening first. Mark was my boss when I switched careers and he has an ability to simultaneously calm and energize a team at the same time. He never loses his wide-eyed optimism about a project and its potential. 

What is important?

Balancing work and play. I have felt for most of my life that ‘play’ is wasted time – I’ve always felt that my time needs to ‘build towards’ something bigger, each action optimized to move me closer to a goal. But over the past 5 years, I’ve looked at play as that time I carve out for myself to relax and be in the moment, not needing it to be anything more than what it is.

Also, give credit and thanks. In creative industries, I have become increasingly frustrated with the illusion of the ‘artist’ as a singular person. Whether it’s video, digital or installations, a project is very rarely one person’s ‘work’ but more that person assembling the team and helping give them inspiration to do good work. So when projects ‘go live’, I get frustrated when I don’t see people getting the credit and thanks they deserve. Giving credit doesn’t diminish your input and slighting someone can make them bitter for years.  

Check out Colin's work at www.colin-davis.com / www.nexusstudios.com

Follow Colin on Instagram @roughgroove

Images from left to right: Colin Davis; Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Lobby. One of the most important pieces Colin has worked on: it changed how he saw video from narrative to sculptural and the power to create a space using video; Dexter. A photo Colin took on the set of Dexter working on the main titles; Michael. Stephanie is a breast cancer survivor and Colin wanted to photograph as the angel Michael. There is a fierceness and strength in her eyes and you can still read the serial numbers on her ‘radiation tattoos’ on her chest; Vanitas (black). Colin worked on the Vanitas series as a way for him to help focus on the things that matter and come to terms with the transitory nature of the physical form; Corruption. Colin keeps getting drawn back to flowers as a way to capture so much more.