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Roy Davis, artist


Bert and Bud

Roy Davis is an artist and craftsman living in Murray. While making and exhibiting his art for more than 30 years, he has also been a museum administrator; a teacher of studio art, art history, art appreciation, and humanities; and an arts consultant.

Roy builds sculptures in the form of half-sized coffins that commemorate the sometimes tragic stories of the lives and deaths of his ancestors and family members. They are accompanied by volumes of essays he has written about his family and about growing up in Kentucky locales like Junction City, Bowling Green, the Kentucky River Palisades, and southwestern Jefferson County. The essays were aired regularly on WKMS 91.3 FM, Murray State University’s National Public Radio station. In 1997, Roy produced a signed, limited-edition boxed set containing 12 of the essays with an audiotape.

In 1994, Davis (aka “Bud”) and Albert “Bert” Sperath co-founded Bert & Bud’s Vintage Coffins. Albert provided the studio space and kept the books, and Roy did the designing, building, and selling of fine, hand-crafted wooden coffins and crematory urns for people and pets. Now that Sperath has moved to Mississippi, Davis is sole owner/operator of the business. The company went online in 1996 and now ships custom-built caskets throughout the United States.

From the outset, Roy says, his primary goal has been to get paid for doing work he enjoys. After 10 years, he feels everything is on track. The web site generates more than two million hits a year, demand for his coffins and urns is growing, and a “how-to-build-a-coffin” book is in the works.

coffin by Roy Davis Roy Davis


Program 630

Coffin maker Roy Davis of Murray, the art of Bowling Green’s Delaire Rowe Finley, a visit to Paducah’s new Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, and a preview of Music Theatre Louisville’s 2004 season. (#630)

Program 641

Coffin maker Roy Davis of Murray, the art of Bowling Green’s Delaire Rowe Finley, a visit to Paducah’s new Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, and a preview of Music Theatre Louisville’s 2004 season. (#641)





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