Move The World: Meet Artist, Damien Mathis

“Black women factor prominently in my work, as heroines, mythical beings, and sources of inspiration. I feel women are harmonious. They have seductively brilliant figures and are often sought out for their presence. There is an inherent artistry in the female form that easily offers itself to a composition. The style of framing that characterizes much of my work involves the idea of something being bigger than the frame that surrounds it – unable to be boxed, caged, or limited – giving thought to infinite questioning and expression.

Most artists tell stories, depict truth or thought; some record history. Since our Black history is scarce and spread thin, at least in the art world, I can catalog and record historical artists through colorful portraiture, infusing a touch of their work for personality. I studied Ms. Alma Thomas in college along with other great artists that paved the way for emerging artists, working to push the boundaries of artistry, like myself.”

Alma, 2020. Acrylic, mixed media on wood. 3 x 9 ft

During the 1960s,  Alma Thomas emerged as an exuberant colorist, abstracting shapes and patterns from the trees and flowers around her. As a Black woman artist, she encountered many barriers, yet she did not express racial or feminist issues in her work, believing rather that the creative spirit is independent of race or gender.

In Washington, D.C., where she lived and worked, Thomas became identified with Morris Louis, Gene Davis, and other Color Field painters active in the area since the 1950s. Like them, she explored the power of color and form in luminous, contemplative paintings. I can only repay Ms. Thomas, et al., back in living color and creation.

Painter and sculptor, Damien Mathis, is a Fayetteville, North Carolina native and resident, and an avid Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club member. A Marine Corp Combat veteran, Mathis served two tours in Afghanistan with 1/6 Bravo Infantry Battalion before earning a Bachelor’s in Visual Arts from HBCU, Fayetteville State University.  Mathis recalls drawing as a child even before he learned to write, but only began painting eight years ago, in his early twenties. His art has since been collected and exhibited throughout the U.S., including the Art Council of Fayetteville, the Harlem Fine Arts Show, Fayetteville University, and A&T.


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