Featured Artist | Toby Davis

“It was like discovering an Alice in Wonderland world living inside the window glass…”
Read more about local artist Toby Davis’s inspiration for his most recent collection, “Windows.”


I started painting window paintings in 2015. During a late night walking in downtown Boise, I noticed this beautiful reflection of the Hoff Building in the window of the Thomas Hammer Coffee shop (now gone). It was like discovering an Alice in Wonderland world living inside the window glass. The scenes are the culmination of two worlds colliding, an abstract smashing together of reality on both sides of the glass – a breakdown of “the matrix” that can’t tell where your focus is, so it just throws the kitchen sink into one scene and lets you sort it out. They are odd, abstract, and at the same time beautiful.

Over time, I have found that they are both everywhere and rare to see. It takes certain conditions to make a good one, and most of the time, as we rush around in life, we are too focused on only the interior or exterior to notice the wild scene that holds both. To me, they serve as a reminder to ocassionally let go of your viewpoint, relax your focus, and possibly find something unexpected and magical. 

We asked Toby Davis a few questions about his career as an artist:

How did it all start? When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I was always an artistic kid. I loved drawing, painting “paint by numbers”, etc. and art has woven in and out of my life since then. In the early 90’s, I saw an oil painting kit in a store, and I bought it and started painting. I worked on a painting here and there for three years in my spare time. Eventually, I went back to Boise State (where they taught me the correct way to paint) and earned a fine art degree. About eight years ago, I decided that it was time to to attempt and art career. I wanted to give it a try and not look back later with regrets of having never given it a shot. 

What inspired this recent body of work?

As I was wandering downtown, taking photos to paint in my studio, I kept seeing these beautiful scenes reflected in the glass – a little of the inside, a little of the outside. They kept showing up and I took it as a sign that I needed to paint them. 

How have our Idaho Communities inspired you as an artist?

The diversity of scenes to paint in Idaho is definitely inspiring- urban cityscapes, small towns, farmland, and natural scenery, but also the encouragement and enthusiasm I’ve received from my fellow Idahoans has inspired me to keep painting. 

What sort of Challenges and Opportunities have you experienced in recent months?

Well, there have been plenty of challenges for sure in the last two years, but that has forced me to open new channels to sell my work online. I’ve shipped paintings all over the nation, and as far away as Budapest, Hungary 

What’s next?

I will to continue look for opportunities to grow and develop as a human being and as an artist.  Particularly around finding wWell, this show runs through September. I will be at Boise’s Art in the Park during the second weekend of September, and Eagle’s Art Walk on the last Thursday of September. After that I’ll start looking for new inspiration, and get back into the studio doing what I love. You can always find new work on social media (@tobydavisart) or on my website tobydavisart.com. 

Capitol Contemporary Gallery invites you to Windows by Toby Davis and On Impermanence by Christine Raymond opening on First Thursday, September 2nd from 4:00 to 8:00 PM.

Both artists are exhibiting new paintings for the month of September and will be in attendance. We will be serving wine by Vizcaya Winery. Please join us for an evening of beautiful art, fun, and conversation! The show is free, open to the public, and runs through September 30th.

A special thank you to

451 S. Capitol Boulevard
Boise, ID 83702​

Monday – Friday  10:00 to 6:00
Saturday  10:00 to 2:00