Damian Stamer loved growing up in his North Carolina home of north Durham County near Hillsborough. The acclaimed contemporary artist now melds his memories of childhood adventures in the woods with his twin brother, exploring old tobacco barns and overgrown places, into his work. Damian draws from memories and photographs of farms, woods and fields and lends beauty to the old and often forgotten relics of North Carolina’s rural landscape.
I want people to see the beauty in the forgotten and the old and the tired and these places that might not be considered beautiful. Just finding almost a classical beauty in the everyday.
Contemporary artist Damian Stamer is close with his twin brother Dylan. In fact, he gives Dylan a nod in his signature at the bottom of each work of art.
“I actually sign every painting D. Stamer, for Damian and Dylan, because I feel like he’s a part of every piece,” Damian said.
And it’s no wonder, since key inspiration and subject matter for Damian includes the memories and places from his childhood. Take the woods in Hillsborough for instance, where Damian and Dylan played together as children. Those are now depicted over Damian’s signature dreamlike backdrop of untamed brushstrokes, painted purposefully across a canvas.
Damian currently has a selection of works in an exhibit on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art titled “Altered Land,” which showcases lesser-known spots in rural North Carolina. As an artist, Damian draws inspiration from his childhood and his brother, but he also captures places that as he said, “would rather be left alone.” Whether it’s from a memory, or a newfound place to be discovered.
“There are these leaning shacks; they’re on their last leg, they’re tired, they’re just resting in the field and they’ve had a life. They’ve had all these stories in them,” Damian said. “They’ve done their work and now they’re kind of fading. They’re just living fossils.”
As he paints the living fossils that he comes across, or knows from past visits, he doesn’t plan exactly how the painting will turn out. “To me, that would take the fun out of it,” Damian said.
Damian’s paintings reflect his unique interpretation. “The interesting thing about these places is it’s such a mix between something that used to be totally cut out from nature, now nature’s sort of growing itself back in and kind of slowly taking back over.”
With his unique images of these tired and worn places, weathered by nature, Damian wants viewers of his art to see what he sees.
“I want people to see the beauty in the forgotten and the old and the tired and these places that might not be considered beautiful. Just finding almost a classical beauty in the everyday.”