Joshua Davis is Infinitely Interesting Part #2

Joshua Davis is happy he was the selected Pokemon.

To explain, I recently posted a blog entry about deciding which designer to write about for my New Media Web Design course as part of a final project.  Based on the initial web layout of the site, I selected Joshua Davis.  His portfolio was laid out similarly to Evan Roth’s in a grid-like pattern.  Davis had actually commented on the post, saying he was glad he won, but HE was the first to use the grid pattern for his portfolio.  He said he greatly admires Evan Roth and even though he used the layout first, “we won’t have to kill him.”  Davis then offered an invite to his studio in Mineola, NY, where I could possibly score some print freebies.

Even more reason why he is the selected Pokemon. (I choose you!)


Joshua Davis is an American web designer and new media artist.  He is most recognized for being an early pioneer of Macromedia Flash and wrote Flash to the Core in 2002.  Joshua Davis’ work “brought an entirely new dimension to art. Utilizing randomization in controlled environments, or Chaos Theory, Davis established a new and unique perspective on visual communication and creative expression, pioneering an area previously unexplored in graphic design.”  (via good ole’ Wikipedia)

Chaos Theory = Butterfly Effect

“”In my work I derive huge satisfaction from creating discrete shape and color palettes and then writing algorithms that assemble the pieces into randomized, whole compositions.  Chance is not always pretty, but it is fun.”

-Joshua Davis

After being a part of the New York art/club scene in the early 90’s and battling with drug addiction, Davis elected to pursue his dream of being a full-time artist.  Working under Thomas Noller in 1995, he learned to write HTML, experiment with Macromedia Flash, and ActionScript programming.Davis became a major influence in graphic and web design during the “Y2K” era of the “Dot-Com” explosion.


1998 – 2001

worked at Kioken Design, a web production company who made JLo’s first site, until it folded in 2001. became an independent web designer and artist, speaking at graphic design conferences including SIGGRAPH, Flash Forward, FITC, BD4D, OFFF, & Graphika Manila.


teamed up with developer Branden Hall  to form The Department of Notation Studios,
a media development studio


took over the band Tool’s websites – designed info page


The Department of Notation Studios disbanded.  Davis & Hall continue collaborating on projects.


professor at New York’s School of the Visual Arts, runs own design studio, & leads workshops at design conferences.


Jackson Pollack – abstract expressionist prominent in the 1940’s and 50’s.

“Among modern artists, I conceptually identify with Jackson Pollock — not that I’m a particular fan of his visual style, but because he always identified himself as a painter, even though a lot of the time his brush never hit the canvas. There’s something in that disconnect — not using a brush or tool in traditional methods.”

–          Joshua Davis, from his studio website

Classic video games – used “sprite” of an alien from Space Invaders as logo for Praystation.

Apple iPhone Art App “Reflect”:

REFLECT is an Apple iPhone Art App that uses multi-touch gestures to randomly generate a composition which gets reflected into a kaleidoscopic pattern.

You can then save your reflection as a background wallpaper, or send to a friend.

For more info, visit Sideways Mobile.

Independent Projects: was a website used by Joshua Davis’ website display new design work and experiments and one of the first to offer open source Flash files.  It was regarded as an “icon of web design.” (Design Museum )In 2001he won the Priz Ars Electronia Award, a prestigious prize for digital art.

Joshua Davis also hosted, the site of a popular Internet forum, hosted by Joshua Davis. Its minimal design, understated Web presence and hidden registration page all added to its intrigue, and for a period of time it served as an online community for many graphic and web designers and programmers. “Photoshop Battles” were a popular activity among forum members, leading into the internet phenomenon now referred to as Photoshop tennis. “Photoshop tennis”  is a graphics related game conducted in internet forums where one member “serves” a photo to another member to make their own alteration.  Each member makes one alteration and then passes on the photo.   The community of Dreamless traveled past the boundaries of the Internet with impromptu local meetings, or “riots” according to Davis, that were arranged for Dreamless users to meet face-to-face and exchange ideas.

One notorious forum on Dreamless was “08 – Meaningless and Shallow”, a topical free-for-all which lead to numerous flame wars, post floods and user-led XSS vandalism. After several “meltdowns” and member disputes, Davis closed Dreamless in July 2001.

Commercial Clients:

Barneys Department Stores, Lucent Technologies, BMW, Kanye West, Motorola, Amp’d Mobile, Nike, Volkswagen, Umbra, Miquelrius, Sony, Motown Records, Puff Daddy, Bad Boy Entertainment, TOOL, Universal Records, Atlantic Records, HBO, Canon, Nokia, Charles Schwab, New Riders Publishers and others.


Once Upon A Forest

Joshua Davis Studios


Good Ole’ Wikipedia

Gadgetopia “Whatever Happened to Kioken Design?”

Joshua Davis Studios

Design Museum

Sideways Mobile

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s