Artist Interview: Mr. DAMJ

Posted by Jenni Kirby - November 09 2022


Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?

A. When I was younger, I originally wanted to go to art school, but ended up going into culinary arts. I was a Chef at the Bellagio for a while, and after about three years I realized I liked front of house positions better. So, I got my certification to become a Sommelier. I’ve been a stay-at-home father for a few years now and that’s how I got into the arts. When the pandemic hit three years ago, I had more time on my hands and that’s when I decided to pursue my art seriously.

Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. Basically, when I start a new piece, I really focus on the colors, so the design and style is consistent. When I am working on new designs, I will take a picture of the blank canvas first and mess around with colors digitally on my iPad. I love color, it is always the most important. Once I have decided on a design, I will start by laying out all my paint, then I go layer by layer adding color. My second layer is all about adding texture, like my signature marbled effect and paint splatters. The third layer is transparent color which alters the color of the layers below. 

All of my work has underlying tones of order and chaos, push and pull – it’s an evolution. It’s the same concept in culinary too, you want to be able to balance the different flavors, like umami, sour, sweet etc.

Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. I appreciate every art form. Lately I have found inspiration in the works of artists like Felipe Pantone and Carl Krasberg – both are modern artists whose work has had a profound effect on my work. Seeing graffiti art in the city is also influential – I even did some graffiti work in college but didn’t like the lifestyle. Music will always be a huge influence in my life, and creative work. A lot of my artworks are titled after song lyrics - I will choose color palettes while listening to music, and it translates onto the canvas.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. Right now, I’m working on a prototype of hand painted glassware. I painted a rocks glass as a sample, and when I posted it there was a lot of positive feedback. I am working with a shop owner in Manchester(South of the River) who wants to keep a permanent collection. I’m planning to do a glassware drop during the holidays - I love food and beverage so it’s a natural transition. I have also been painting street shoes, from vans to stan smiths. I love making everyday items that have an artistic bend to them, so you can bring art into every aspect of your life. My goal is to create a lifestyle brand and my artwork has laid the groundwork for all these new avenues of creative work.

Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. I like to live spontaneously, whether with my family or creative work. Live life colorfully – think about what you want and then just do it. Live your dream, but actually do it. People sit around daydreaming but never take action, so take the steps now!