Demitrius Omphroy is a former professional soccer player turned artist. His art over the years has been compared to the works of Picasso and Matisse. Today we had the opportunity to meet with him.
How long have you been an artist?
I’d love to say I’ve been an artist ever since I was 4 years old! With my mother being an artist, I grew up around art and she always fostered a creative environment for me to express. I guess I didn’t really start taking art seriously until I got to college. I was so drawn to the art studio classes and naturally felt like I needed to put my focus into expression through painting. So, I’d say right around the time I turned 19 years old.
How would you describe your work?
I’d describe my work as playful, expressive, and simplistic, yet loaded with emotion. I try to evoke feeling from my color palette but have a simplified way of depicting figures that represent experiences in my life. A lot of the times my work is impulsive and unplanned, which has become a really intentional way of creating what I’m feeling in the exact moment. My mantra as an artist is that “finding our own voice requires unlearning things we were taught in school and re-learning how to think like kids again.”
My playful, expressive style was born from me trying to re-learn how to think like I did back when I was four years old – back to my purest mind state of creativity.
Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences in the art world come from Basquiat, Picasso, Matisse, Egon Schiele – to name a few. Over the years of studying art history, I feel like I’ve retained little moments of inspiration from their work, which have helped me to find my own voice and style. Ultimately, my biggest influence comes from love and family. I’m constantly trying to work on myself and grow – so the feelings and emotions I’m experiencing inspire the work that comes out onto my canvas.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced as an artist was being bold enough to show people my work. There’s a sense of fear, doubt, anxiety that I had which made it paralyzing for me to create. It wasn’t until I realized, well, it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about my work. That is the beautiful part about art, it is all completely subjective to the viewer. What is most important is that I feel great about the work. If other people enjoy it, that’s just an added bonus.
How has your work changed over the years?
I’ve always been really into portraying faces, movement, motion. When I initially started painting, I gravitated towards the street art style. It’s quick, sometimes temporary, and it didn’t involve that much emotion for me. Over the years as I developed more of my own voice, I felt like I needed to paint pieces that made me feel something. I’d say my work now is packed with much more emotion. The pieces sit with me in my living or studio for several weeks sometimes – they become a part of my life. Building that relationship and connection with my pieces is really what has changed with me over the years. I think that’s what has led to me creating pieces that I love. Now, I’m able to create art for myself.
What projects are you currently working on?
I just finished a couple of commissions, so I’m focusing on a few pieces that I have for a show at the end of October. They are larger bodies of work(60” x 72”) which I am excited about. I find that working larger allows me more freedom to grow into space.
Outside of that, I have a campaign with clothing brand FCUK(French Connection United Kingdom) that I’m really looking forward to shooting. It’s the first time where I’ll be seeing my work on garments which adds a new dimension of growth for me as an artist. I’m also collaborating with a New York based brand called The Brooklyn Circus. I’m excited for all of this work to drop soon!
What has been your greatest accomplishment in art to date?
I find accomplishments aren’t actually about where I’ve shown my work or whom I’ve sold my pieces to.
My greatest accomplishment in art has been finding my own voice. As an artist, one of the hardest things is being able to express freely from one’s own perspective – and then having the courage to be okay with that work living in the world for others to experience. When I create now, I feel anxiety, excitement, sadness, confusion, ALL of the above– but in the end, I feel liberated when I’m able to share it with others.
That’s my biggest accomplishment as an artist.
Where can people purchase your art?