He was born in Greer, South Carolina, but has studied, lived, and taught in both Indiana and Ohio. He graduated from DePauw University in 1959, and from Miami University in 1967. He studied at the Dayton Art Institute, and Indiana State University from 1975 to 1976.
He is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Artists. Davis makes art from found objects and often includes mixed media. He has also worked in photography, drawing, painting, ceramics and sculpture. Art to Davis "is a wonderful way to understand self and to understand others."
Being an African American and growing up in the civil rights movement has influenced Davis. He likes to use found objects such as nuts and bolts to create pieces of art influenced by what his ancestors in Africa might have made, such as African masks or an installation of an African shrine. This included the mixed-media triptych "The Struggle as Viewed from the Base of the Wall" which was inspired by the Attica Prison riots.
- Bing's Gallery
- Indianapolis Museum of Art: Movie on YouTube
- Willis Bing Davis, an extraordinary artist
- Willis 'Bing' Davis: On the Shoulders of Those Who Came Before
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