Damian Stamer has always felt the pull of North Carolina deep in his bones.
The professional painter, who was raised in Durham County and first honed his craft by attending UNC School of the Arts, didn’t set out to make The Tar Heel State his muse. But what Stamer, now a prolific oil painter, did know from an early age was that he wanted to make a go of it in the art world. It’s the type of rare, youthful certainty that sets in motion a whole life.
I had a couple great teachers who really pushed me, and, really, I just had no other back-up plan, Stamer explains.
He also had his twin brother, Dylan, alongside him, encouraging his every step. Dylan, who works in a very nearly oppositional field (finance), took the charge to help Damian sell some of his first pieces of art ever.
“I’ve always loved to draw, loved print-making and loved working with the printers, but I suppose what I have always preferred is monotypes and painting,” Stamer says. “Working in two dimensions can be incredibly complex.”
Indeed, his paintings are finely detailed oils, marrying abstraction with realism in a truly captivating manner.
Stamer’s talent was clear early on, and so, like most young people, Stamer felt compelled to take that talent out and see the world. A traveler by nature, he lived for a period in Budapest and then settled in New York City. It was in this time period that he began painting the images of homes that would come to define much of his painting. Stamer often paints agrarian landscapes and abstracted structures – barns, houses.
A national grant drew him back to UNC for grad school, and this time, he knew he needed to stay.
I needed to be there to be true to the place in my art. I was recalling memories by being in North Carolina, and I wanted to be as genuine as possible.
Today, Damian splits his time between a studio in New York City’s Williamsburg and his home in the quiet woods of Durham. His work has shown at galleries worldwide, from Berlin, to Santa Fe, Philadelphia and Tokyo, and he has drawn increasing critical acclaim. Worldly pursuits aside, it’s the memories of his childhood, the old barns and overgrown fields and farms, that truly define Damian Stamer. His art is a universal homage to the home that you can never really leave.