“FOOTHILLS” is a multimedia experience combining installation, music, projection and storytelling. Through the melding of soundscape + melody, produced + found images and stories + poetic lyrics, audiences navigate the formative landscapes of artist/musician William Stephen Davis (Rasmus Leon) and participate in building a ‘sacred space’ where the hidden / personal / invisible becomes a collective emotional platform for what was lost, forgotten, and what compels us forward. “FOOTHILLS” is an intimate burrowing past the landscaped skins of self into a universal cosmic fray.
William Stephen Davis is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and community builder. Raised in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina, Davis uses the moniker Rasmus Leon to create immersive experiences that unfold in cinematic swells; unsurprising given his long history as a music video, animation and experimental documentary filmmaker.
With academic backgrounds in photography and liberal studies, his work has been featured nationally and internationally in galleries including the Yale School of Art Gallery, TS1 Gallery, and KIT Museum, and festivals including Indie Grits, HollyShorts, and NewFilmmakers NY, among others.A self-taught filmmaker, fine artist, writer, and musician, Davis’s multimodal approach to art incorporates 2D works, sound, installation, and moving images. He has directed over three dozen film festivals and public arts events, and served as Festival Director and board member of various Charlotte arts nonprofits. He has also organized numerous arts-based community initiatives in his Appalachian hometown, and is a Sundance Screenwriting Fellow.
For years Davis produced a multitude of 4-track songs in private, unbeknownst to even those close to him. Using the framework of folk piano, pop-tinged incantations, confessional lyrics and environmental sounds, the chill-inducing combination swirls with emotional grandiosity, pulling listeners in and burrowing in their psyches long after the final notes. With dark, catchy melodies and evocative, introspective song lyrics partnered with personally documented + collected visual ephemera, Davis’ intimately catalogued detritus acts as a portal to his own formative, vivid landscapes and the mysteries surrounding change we all contemplate.
His debut EP “and the Foothills” was recorded in Davis’ languished childhood home as he finished dismantling 30+ years of memories. “FOOTHILLS” was supported by the Knight Foundation’s Celebrate Charlotte Arts grant.
He currently resides in Charlotte, NC, where he is Founder + Creative Director of Small Creatures, a visual marketing firm and arts advocacy group (www.smallcreatures.com), and is Director of the Film Studies Program at UNC Charlotte.