We interviewed Damian Stamer, one of our long-time Carolina Art Crushes. Damian grew up in NC, and studied in Arizona, Germany, and Hungary, ultimately earning his BFA in Painting from the University of Arizona and an MFA in Studio Art from UNC-Chapel Hill. His work has been widely exhibited and he’s the recipient of several prestigious awards including a 2014 North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and a Fulbright Grant.
Primarily utilizing imagery from his upbringing in rural North Carolina, Damian creates landscape paintings and prints that explore concepts of home and memory.
HappeningsCLT: Describe yourself in three words
Damian Stamer: Thoughtful and driven.
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
DS: I’m a sucker for landscapes, sky fades, and puffy clouds.
Painters: Matthias Weischer, Neo Rauch, Nick Goss, Dana Schutz, Josephine Halvorson, Claire Sherman, Gerhard Richter, Rauschenberg, Kiefer, Basquiat…
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
DS: 9th Grade at Riverside High School in Durham. All thanks to an amazing teacher, Helen Griffin.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work?
DS: My current work builds on a series of paintings based on the landscape of my childhood. I’ve focused on these familiar places and spaces for the past seven years, and I’m excited about some recent developments. Compared to previous works, these newest paintings are probably a little more confident and bold in their negotiation of positive and negative space.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
DS: Flanders Gallery in Raleigh and Craven Allen Gallery in Durham.
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
DS: The North Carolina Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. It’s hard to choose a favorite, as all four of these venues continuously offer amazing exhibitions and programming.
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now?
DS: Winners by Alastair Campbell.
HCLT: Best meal in the Carolinas?
DS: Pancuito in Hillsborough, NC.
HCLT: What is your number one art piece/place/event in NC?
DS: Anselm Kiefer’s Untitled triptych and Andrew Wyeth’s Winter 1946, both at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
HCLT: What’s up next?
DS: My solo show, A little past Lake Michie, opens at Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia on February 5th and Altered Land: Works by Damian Stamer and Greg Lindquist opens at the North Carolina Museum of Art in April. In May, I have a solo exhibition at Galerie Michael Schultz in Berlin and will participate in a group exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston.