Whether he's painting a world leader such as Gandhi or a fantastic character such as General Grievous, Delton Demarest's iconoclastic work is always eye-catching, thought-provoking and full of subconscious emotional resonance. His unique style recalls elements of pop art, surrealism and those lurid black-velvet paintings found at flea markets. Demarest grew up with graffiti and trained as an illustrator; he's done design work for the rap group Atmosphere and companies such as Nike and Vitamin Water, all elements that find their way into his work.
"I believe it allows me to be versatile in many aspects of artistic creation," Demarest says. "My roots are in graffiti, so I have made strong attempts to merge my traditional sense of illustration with the contemporary tool of an aerosol can." Those roots are apparent in his current show, Fin Fang Foom, opening tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at Think Tank Gallery, 172 South Broadway. The exhibit will showcase recent works created using a technique Demarest says mimics the brushstrokes of oil paintings with spray-paint strokes. The collision of technique, subject matter and Demarest's wide range of influences helps forge something both unusual and powerful in his work. "I don't attempt to pay homage to any one particular artist or artistic movement," he says. "I am inspired by history, many of the great masters, many of the living legends of today, from traditionalists to taggers."