Sign up for our newsletter!

Meet the maker – Davit Nava

Published October 11, 2016, by Stina Axelson

How would you describe yourself?

I’d describe myself as a eco-artist as my pieces seek to transmit an environmental message to viewers. I’d describe my style as a conservationist style because my pieces seek to transmit an awakening message to live, in a respectful manner, at the same rate as the cycles of this planet we all live in. And, what’s my approach to achieve it? by using environmentally friendly materials and by spreading environmental awareness in my artistic speeches.

Photo by Pamela Daryl Hernández Magaña

At this point, I’d like to say that being an environmentalist artist is quite challenging as, nowadays, the conservation speech is not perceived as Contemporary Art. However, I must say that Contemporary Art takes into consideration contemporary issues, and protecting our environment is, clearly, a 21st century issue due to the environmental crisis we, humans, have triggered. At these early decades of the 21st century, we might not have already realised the complexity of altering the ecosystems, however, and unfortunately, we’ll see quite soon how if we continue altering nature’s equilibrium, it never forgets nor forgives. Moreover, nature conservation is seen, in many cases, as an idyllic postcard landscape or happy people hugging trees, but, from my personal experience, nature conservation goes far beyond that misunderstood concept. Conservation is not a romantic tendency, it is about preserving life and life quality on Earth. In many cases, people don’t realise that nature sustains life on Earth. Neither that it all comes from nature, whether it is the newest cell phone on market, the fanciest car or a luxurious apartment in a NYC skyscraper.

If we slow down, stop, and reflect, we’ll realise that absolutely everything was once a natural resource; sand, minerals, metal rocks, a tree or an animal.

Photo by Pamela Daryl Hernández Magaña
Photo by Pamela Daryl Hernández Magaña

What other mediums did you work with before evolving to your current style?

When I finished College, while looking for a job, I took a 3 months workshop in Cuernavaca, my hometown, where I learned the technique of “Cloth Mache” invented by Dan Reeder, a Seattle-based artist. He recycles old clothes and uses them in the sculptures he creates. Then, I started to fusionate his Cloth Mache technique with others I learned and I invented myself. For example, I started putting post-use plastic bags inside my sculptures to avoid them reach the ocean and being eaten by marine wildlife causing them death. I also started using post-natural disaster wood due to an enormous flood that destroyed all my family’s lemon trees.

What does sustainable art mean to you?

For me, for an art piece to be considered sustainable, it must meet the three pillars of Sustainability: environment, society and economy.

Sustainable Art must be good for nature as it must have a low negative impact on it. Sustainable Art must also connect people with nature, which is essential for human’s inner harmony and conscience. And finally, it must be economically profitable for artists by letting them earn a living.

Photo by: Pamela Daryl Hernández Magaña.
Photo by: Pamela Daryl Hernández Magaña.

Why do you focus on sustainability?

I believe we should aim towards shaping our lifestyles so that it will have the minimum impact on the environment – or none whatsoever – in order for us to enjoy a healthy life on a healthy planet. Sustainability is therefore a crucial factor in my artwork. For that reason, I believe we should use Art’s huge potential of grabbing people’s attention on topics, to embrace, henceforth, sustainability in their lives.

Back in time, more precisely in 1999, when I was a 12 years old boy, I took a life decision: be the voice of those that do not have one and speak out loud about the injustices that human race was causing to nature. By “those that do not have a voice” I mean other creatures and species; our non-human fellows.

Back then; I co-founded a project to save marine turtles from extinction in the Mexican Pacific coast. Nowadays, in my late 20’s I am committed to spreading environmental awareness by making Sustainable Art.

My artwork seeks to exhibit lifelike shapes, colours and textures of nature to stimulate people’s curiosity and wonder towards nature with the intention of building bridges based on mutual respect between all creatures and species that inhabit this world.

What’s the difference in sustainable living in Mexico compared to, for example, Europe or Sweden?

In Mexico, unfortunately, Sustainability is not considered as important as it is. The recycling rate among Mexican population is quite low compared to that of Northern Europe. However. Out there, in other parts of the world, there are already hundreds of eco-solutions and I remain hopeful that Mexicans will embrace them soon.

What’s life like in Mexico?

Life in Mexico is like a color palette; it is diverse. You can be surrounded by a pine forest and snowy mountains, but if you drive one hour from there you can find yourself surrounded by enormous cactus and a semi-desertic weather. The same example can be extrapolated to other circumstances in daily life. It is very interesting.

Living in a multicultural country such as Mexico gives artists enormous opportunities to enrich the senses. For example, when you visit traditional markets or see indigenous handcrafts, the eyes perceive a myriad of color combinations and shapes. The same occurs with tastes and smells. For that reason, I think Mexican people, and artists too, are audacious when using colours, whether they’re wearing colorful clothes, painting their houses exuberantly or painting a canvas folklorily.

What’s your connection to Sweden?

Since I am a child, I’ve been hearing many interesting stories about Sweden as very good friends of my family are Swedes and Mexican-Swedes. Therefore, my interest in Sweden dates back to my first years of life.

On the other hand, when I was studying Environmental Sciences at College, in Spain, I had the chance to study one year as Erasmus student in Helsinki. Living in Finland and being surrounded by a Northern culture made me live, in some way, those stories I had always heard but hadn’t firsthand experienced. I really liked it.

What do you have planned for the future?

In this last third of 2016 I am making new alliances with eco-brands in Mexico, that hopefully will lead to more exposure of my pieces and the environmental awareness message they seek to transmit. For the first third of the next year I am planning an exhibition with a good friend of mine about the importance of salt, in the planet but in our daily lives too.

You also work with local NGOs and volunteer, tell us about your projects!

I’m the co-founder of an eco NGO called Fundación Jucataco and, for next year, some friends and I we’re planning new strategies to involve people from my hometown, Cuernavaca, in artistic and ecological projects. In the long term, for 2050 we’re already planning how to make Cuernavaca, the greenest city in Mexico.

Thank you Davit for taking your time with this interview. We are looking forward to hear more of your adventures. Make sure you check out Davits work
For a few tips on how to sustainable crafting read our guide

Do you want more Meet the maker-interviews?

Check out our archive

Stina Axelson

Stina Axelson

Always making and creating and fun to hang out with. She finds it hard to follow instructions and keeps a box of treasured papers.