Artist StatementWhose perspective defines reality? And, if I stand in contrast, then am I an outsider? Misled? Wrong? Or, are answers more ambiguous? Are there only differing points of view, all fighting for success? Our environments cast a torrent of influence against us, making exactitude elusive. My art practice seeks to expose the destructive nature of prejudice and uses my identity as a gay American as its frame. <br> As an interdisciplinary artist, I create two- and three-dimensional artworks using a range of media. I often incorporate individuals or objects that have a distinct connection to my past, yet intentionally present conflicting narratives of accomplishment and defeat. These subject matters tap cultural phenomena that speak to many and aim to make connections to authentic life experiences shared by others. <br> Ultimately, my work demonstrates the contradictory circumstances that I often experience, and in doing so, manifests the precarious relationship between ostracism and acceptance. Via style, scale, and content, it asks viewers to examine their convictions – to see how their thoughts and actions affect others. It also asks them to embrace what is pleasant and amusing, as laughter cultivates accord.
While growing up in Austin, Texas, Damon Arhos (American, b. 1967) always questioned convention. The interdisciplinary artist consistently tried to align with cultural norms, but often struggled when the stories just did not fit. Back then, Arhos spent a lot of time reconciling perceptions with reality – at that time, an impossible task that fostered introspection and resilience.
Today, living and working in the Washington, DC metro area, Arhos uses his art practice to explore how individual experiences influence gender roles, sexual orientation, and human relationships. With identity at its core, this process seeks to question stereotypes and assumptions that dampen character. Further, it investigates the implications of concurrent affirmation and rejection within disenfranchised communities. Arhos uses scale, humor, and remixed Pop Art references in order to establish – and then alter – the familiar. His interest in portraiture has developed with diverse expressions of the self as well as of historical figures who have overcome inequity.
An MFA in studio art graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Arhos also serves as an educator, teaching undergraduate art students both design principles and art history. The grandson of Greek immigrants, Arhos recurrently investigates the richness of culture, and embraces the idiosyncrasies that make life more alluring.