Updated: Jun 17, 2020
The art practice of D'mon Knox is focused on uniting photography with other expressive art modalities to create his distinctive photographic abstracts. He remixes familiar languages (abstract expressionism, surrealism, street art, and minimalism) to birth a new idiom for the examination of culture, race, sex, socio-economics, and blackness.
His creative process occurs in stages beginning with inspiration / idea generation. The next stage involves him venturing into an environment to capture several hundred photographs, this stage is the same for every project. D’mon hunts for the images, angles, or colors that can provide the foundation for an evocative piece. The final step involves the intuitive and most soulful part of the creative process as he works to create a vibrancy that communicates the truth of the piece by layering for depth, stripping for revelation, and recontextualizing the image until a spirit emanates from the work.
D'mon’s lived experience at the intersection of race, sex and social-economics drives his practice. "Growing up as an ‘Other’ in Kansas I learned from an early age to assess if the casual racial callousness directed towards me portended physical violence. I suppose I’ve always wanted to get to the root of the fear and insecurity that my existence created in the minds of the majority community. I am intrigued by what drives people to personally confront and obstruct another person’s self-actualization. Empirically it seems the source of this fear and agitation circles back to the American perennials; race, sex, and Money (socio-economics). My work exists to unwrap, examine, and showcase the inherent complexity of these themes, while undermining them."
"My work is having a continuous dialogue with the viewer (me) and I feel invited to respond"
"Kandinsky said, 'The spirit is often concealed within matter to such an extent that few people are generally incapable of perceiving it.’ ”I lament the thought of the spirit of my work becoming so obscured that it no longer communicates with the viewer. To that point, I am constantly battling with my propensity for ‘overworking’ a piece. My problem is, the work engages me in a continuous dialogue and I feel compelled to keep responding."
D’mon is dealing with similar challenges in his practice management as many other practicing artists. Finding a working space, managing and balancing time, dealing with production costs and communicating his work to the world are all part of the core challenges many creatives are facing today. "Since my work is based in photography I find myself at the mercy of processors, fine art printers, and fabricators. I would like to create more non-commissioned works for the public to view, but that ain’t cheap!
"Over the last year I’ve realized that I haven’t been giving proper attention to cultivating effective promotions for both myself and the work. I had to get over my aversion to appearing too ‘commercial’. The truth is, in today’s ‘noisy’ environment it is imperative that artists like myself seek quality professionals to help us gain access to new platforms for increasing visibility."
"Artists will always want to show in New York, but the organic energy of a creative community lies elsewhere."
Based in Brooklyn, New York, D'mon sees the local art scene evolving as more artists are shifting their presence between the different boroughs and neighborhoods. "I am elated to see artists venturing beyond the overpriced and overhyped sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn to create new communities for mutual support and creation. Only the most profitable creators can afford the prime space in Tribeca, Harlem, Dumbo, or far East Bushwick. As the cost of living continues to rise and artists' enclaves become rarer, I envisage New York losing many of its artists and creatives to more hospitable cities over the next 5 years. The acceptance of online engagement coupled with the growth of creative enclaves in livable and affordable cities provides a viable alternative to New York CIty. Artists will always want to show in New York, but the energy of a creative community lies elsewhere. An arts capital with very few artists"
“Digital media has made artists more accessible to collectors, and casual appreciators while simultaneously opening up a world of opportunities for exhibitions and other outlets and platforms for their work. Social media is allowing communities to coalesce and form vital collectives for collaboration, support, and referrals.”
"I see digital tools as vital to my process. I did not join Instagram until 2017, but once I did I experienced a dramatic change in my creative process and output. I would live with a work for a year or two before completing it, but social media created a sense of urgency that guided me to focus more intently on the frequency of my output. Presenting ‘works in progress’ and having the option to promote and sell through social media to an enthusiastic niche of global collectors has been game changing. I see the role of digital media expanding, even in my own practice I am looking for the right opportunities for creating 3D immersive / interactive social media presentations based in my abstract photography, I’m sure it’ll be very psychedelic once fully realized."
For 2020 D'mon is developing several projects that intersect with music and technology. He is working on a collaboration with an avant garde Jazz composer and is looking to incorporate 3D printing into his process. "I'm working on a series of 3D printings for a collection I’m producing entitled ‘NASTY!’ based on images from vintage erotic cinema that I’ve recontextualized as abstracts. Even my grandmother wouldn’t mind hanging these in her living room...well, until she looks too closely.”