Body to Canvas | Meet Alec DeMarco • Corridor Contemporary
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Body to Canvas | Meet Alec DeMarco

Alec DeMarco (b. 1989, Washington, USA) grew up with a wide range of artistic interests, including folk art, medieval book illustrations, and most importantly for him – graffiti on train cars hauling raw materials to and from the mills and refineries in his blue-collar hometown.

DeMarco’s inspiration took a new turn later in life when he was accepted into a formal apprenticeship with a renowned Irezumi Tattoo Master from Japan.

There, he learned about brush calligraphy, and about myths & legends filled with fascinating stories about deities, Yōkai, and heroes. His pieces frequently blur the line between representation and abstraction.

Left: Alec DeMarco in his studio, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.
In his creation, DeMarco rarely sketches out a design before beginning working on a piece, preferring instead to discover the painting as he works. This allows him to preserve all of his original energy, spontaneity, and passion while painting; much like Japanese calligraphers masters who embrace the concept of “Wabi-Sabi”. DeMarco’s wild yet very organised compositions reflects his life experiences as well as his day-to-day activities.

Many of his works have Japanese elements drawn from his time living in Tokyo and training under a tattoo master. Such impact can be seen at the work Snakes and Ladders in the umbrella with a foot, appearing on the right side of the composition.

Alec DeMarco, Snakes and Ladders, 2022, Oil Acrylic and Ink on Canvas, 152.4 x 213.3 cm

This object is known as Karakasa-Kozō and it is a part of Yōkai (妖怪, “Strange apparition”) – a class of supernatural entities and spirits in Japanese folklore. Yōkai are not literally demons in the Western sense of the word but are instead spirits and entities, whose behavior can range from malevolent or mischievous to friendly, fortuitous, or helpful to humans. Karakasa-Kozō are sometimes, but not always, considered a tsukumogami (tools that have acquired a kami or spirit) that old umbrellas turn into.

The title, like other elements in his works, is borrowed from DeMarco’s daily routine, as during the days he worked on the piece, he played a lot of board games with his family.
Much like the objects in his paintings are a representation of his everyday routine, the title is as well. It is therefore enters the composition of the painting, as can be seen at the bottom of the work.
Right: A two-legged Kasa-Obake from the “Hyakki Yagyo Zumaki” by Rnshin Kanō.

Astro Boys Leg, 2022

Hand-signed by artist
Ink & Oil on Canvas
45.7 x 61 cm, 18 x 24 in

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Untitled, 2022

Hand-signed by artist
Ink & Oil on Paper
46 x 61 cm, 18 x 24 in

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DeMarco has also begun to experiment with collage, combining his small paper drawings with his large canvases, generating a grid on the picture that recalls the aesthetics of a comic book. 

Paintings with these recent explorations are also on display at Corridor Contemporary.
DeMarco’s artworks have been exhibited in the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, and Qatar; and are now on display at Corridor Contemporary Tel Aviv.
 

Alec DeMarco, Discovery of Acid Tabs Act 02, 2022, Oil Acrylic and Ink on Paper, 76 x 101 cm

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