David-Jeremiah Challenges the Status Quo Through Captivating Art
Though most can be visually appealing, art is not solely intended to make the viewer feel comfortable. Throughout history, various murals, sculptures, and other bodies of work can evoke, compel, or displease an audience. As for multidisciplinary conceptual artist and Oak Cliff native (outside of Dallas, Texas) David-Jeremiah’s artwork, it’s intended to invite contemplation. “I honestly believe that if I were polka-dotted or see-through, I would still be a great artist because a lot of my tactic has been arming my concepts and my artwork with ideas for aesthetics. That's one thing people can't not say about my art. It’s very visually stimulating and beautiful,” Jeremiah tells EDITION.
With pieces such as the Hamborghini Rally: Soul Hunt City and Hood N---as Camping series, Jeremiah creates art around critical social issues such as identity, politics, racial disparity, and intersectionality. “Identity has been a huge issue that I've grappled with while juggling the potential for who I can be and what I really want. That’s an artist. So, I've recently gotten to the point in my practice where I've told myself I was going to focus on balance,” Jeremiah states. “People lazily try to classify me as the angry Black artist or that my art is violent. So, it’s like, stop. They expose the sh-t out of themselves when that's their approach because I spend so much time wielding my physical existence for you just to lazily label me.”
Though Jeremiah’s artwork was most recently in the spotlight over the past two years, he’s spent the last decade sharpening his craft – despite having a less than perfect start. Jeremiah spent four years in prison at 27 before reaching an epiphany. “I got to the point where I could just fake it until I made it. Then, I really had to start growing and evolving and understanding the dynamics of life outside of the hood,” Jeremiah says. “So, I was having all of these revelations, and I got to my art – the part of me that I feel is the purest – which is my creative energy. I'd always known that I wanted to be a fine contemporary artist…it wasn't until I hit prison that I turned into a bonafide conceptual artist because my mind is all I had – and there was a sh-tload of limits to what I could produce and create.”
Determined to pursue his passion in the art world, Jeremiah actively worked toward turning his life around. He tirelessly worked multiple jobs before opening his current Dallas-based studio. “I was just nonstop like art, art, art, and I have a crazy work ethic. A lot of people think my sh-t is coming out of nowhere but what they don't realize is that I've been a creative for years,” Jeremiah adds. “I stayed in prison for four years, and I got nine composition notebooks full of these concepts, and I just sat on them for four years visualizing like supervillain – and I know exactly how to make everything I want to make, and I do it.”
Jeremiah will set up his first-ever solo exhibit in Los Angeles this June and debut at the Dallas Art Fair this week. Furthermore, he’s a Nasher Sculpture Center artist grant recipient and mentions that being showcased at the Dallas Art Fair is on his bucket list. Jeremiah states, "Conceptual art has been the biggest influence and my personal road to realizing that is my main embodiment as an artist."
This week, David-Jeremiah will debut at the Dallas Art Fair, alongside sitting with EDITION for an in-person fireside chat. We will kick off our live Dallas Art Fair coverage tomorrow evening via Instagram. Follow us here!