Interview with Demit Omphroy
b. 1989, California, USA
Dani: Demit, who was our first artist in residence and is now delighting us again at JO-HS with his lovely and vibrant energy is now here to answer some of our questions as spectators and companions through his process of creation.
Demit, based on your consistency in color palette and motifs you use in your work, can you tell us what it all stands for? The objects, the use of color, the faces…
Demit: I originally used primary and secondary colors because I date my creative process back to when I was very young. and I try to think that my style is a refined child-like style, trying to remove everything I was told to do in school at a young age and just allow myself to create more freely.
Dani: Is that how you nurture your inner-child interest in yur work?
Demit: Yeah, for me at the time I became a full time painter I was creating because I was feeling very sad. So the bold colors were a way for me to feel warm in my small New York apartment Since then, the color palette has become a staple.
Dani: What about the poker faces in your work?
Demit: The faces are more of a representation of what I am feeling versus trying to depict exactly who or what I am looking at. I always start with the nose, so then the rest of the composition starts growing from there. So I guess that is how I get to know if the piece came from my head or if it’s like ‘The Last Supper’ which I’m currently working on for the exhibition, which is based off of reference. I’ve been doing these faces since 2015 and in the pandemic I really started refining them and putting them onto canvas.
Dani: What would you like to communicate from your work at a first glance?
Demit: When I show my work, in a way, I want my pieces to be more than what you see at a first glance. I think the idea is that when you look at a piece, you see a lot of color, which can relate to warmth, happiness, but as you peel back the layers you can understand that there is a much deeper meaning to it. It is more about how the viewer can draw their own conclusion to the work versus me trying to tell them how they should feel.
Dani: Have you ever translated the feeling of letting go your football career through your artwork?
Demit: Not really, cause in my story with soccer it was one that I decided to walk away from. It was not taken away from me, so it made me realize that when I was able to have my contract I was the one that decided I wanted to pursue something else cause I no longer had the same love for it that I had when I was a kid. I don’t have any hard feelings or resentment towards it, on the contrary I’m very grateful, and it taught me to work the way that I work now, knowing its not only about the talent but the effort and time you put into it. It trained me to be resilient.
Dani: Demit, how has been the process and evolution of being a designer - sculptor - brand - painter? Where did it all start? And how would you picture it developing in the future?
Demit: I never planned any of the additional things that have happened since I have started focusing on painting. When I finally accepted myself as a painter, it started opening a lot of other opportunities for this creativity to breathe in different ways. Sometimes I find myself given the responsibility of doing something I’ve never done before, and I also believe that helps me to push myself and challenge myself even more; o think outside the box and continue to evolve.
Dani: What do you think the meaning of being “an Artist” is to you?
Demit: I felt that I had became an artist when I found my own style, and it feels like it took me my whole life. I could paint and copy and replicate and other stuff very well but it was never really my own, so I never thought I was an artist. To me, becoming an artist is working with authenticity and intention towards everything that you want to achieve through your artwork. For me, it was finally understanding how to articulate my own voice and story through my artwork.