A Closer Look: State of the State

State of the State, artwork by Miles Davis of Massive Burn Studios

When traveling from show to show, we often receive comments and questions regarding our artwork. Although ultimately, the meaning behind the paintings is up to the viewer, we’d like to use this segment to offer up some insight into a few of Miles’s paintings. Learn more about your favorite Miles Davis paintings straight from the artist. Have a further question? Have your own meaning? We’d love to hear it. Feel free to leave your comments below.

For our inaugural post, let’s take ‘A Closer Look’ at “State of the State,” a highly-acclaimed painting from the latest series of political works. Miles explains his painting below.

State of the State


State of the State, artwork by Miles Davis of Massive Burn Studios

State of the State was a culmination of a sketch I roughly designed about a year prior to executing it on canvas. It is the same composition as another painting I had done a year before called “Laughter & Laments.”

The emotional context for “State of the State” was based in fear and hope. At the time of the sketch, I was weary of the stability of our country. It was when the US Congress was, in my opinion, holding the country and the current administration hostage with their uncompromising ways with the debt ceiling, resulting in the United States having its credit rating dropped. This created a media firestorm that ignited deep-seeded fears in the young adults around the country. There we were trying to start our adult lives, live out our dreams and make our way into parenthood and home ownership, but the Media would have you believe that our country was falling apart. It personally made my anxiety jump a few notches.

Detail displays the thirteen berries, leaves, and arrows represented in the Great Seal of the United States.

I felt portraying Uncle Sam as a Jester being lifted up by “liberty” was a direct enough symbolic approach, while staying true to bipartisanship. The bald eagle and the props utilized with it are based strictly on the actual United States Seal: there are thirteen leaves, berries and arrows symbolic of the original 13 colonies. The all seeing eye of God (or if the viewer prefers, “Big Brother”) is meant to draw the viewer in closer so they can take in the immense detail work throughout the painting, including fear mongering headlines stripped out of various newspapers and collaged in the background. Enjoy.

For more information about State of the State, click here to visit our gallery.

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