Born in South Florida, Damon Pla was drawn to express himself through art at an early age. Upon completing various portfolio classes in high school, his advanced drawing and painting skills led him to pursue commercial and private commissions soon after graduation. After a decade of large scale projects throughout Florida and neighboring regions, the largely self-taught artist moved to Delaware to absorb a different landscape.
“Through ambience, composition, movement and light, creating art will always be an instrument for me to interpret my perception of our surroundings. To quietly converse with the viewer through my work, provoking thought and meditation, is my passion.”
Today, Damon continues to work full time creating timeless murals, large paintings and limited edition reproductions for his collectors. He resides in Dagsboro, DE with wife Dana and their daughters Maya and Zoey.
In my paintings, I explore landscapes and surreal compositions to provoke thought and meditation. My artwork consistently exposes my obsession for late afternoon light and the subtlety of both cool and warm ambient spaces.
Addicted to these nuances, I exaggerate the mood of each painting to isolate the essence of a moment in time. I believe the nature of these observations can immediately create an intimate connection so that the viewer is left only to absorb the energy and take it with them.
I am fascinated by the idea that the viewer can be forced to acknowledge this relationship with a painting. In my surreal works, I attempt to capture this by arranging non-relative objects to create new relationships. Or demonstrate the extensive, labored journey of an object only for it to travel the shortest of distances.
Dreams play a large part of where my ideas originate. I always sketch an image after remembering a dream, not usually for the content, but largely for what it felt like. Documenting this awareness in my painting allows me to shelve such moments as if I experienced them awake to take with me, through my journey.
Before I begin a painting, I research and photograph isolated settings, particularly in the late afternoon light. When the light draws me outdoors, I grab my camera and head out. Through this expedition, I search for compositions that tug at my obsession for this 'glowing light.' I investigate how certain cropped areas of landscape are bathed by this golden glow. Like the way a family of tall trees hold the light just at their top portions, creating a sense of space from the shadow below. Or the rich ambience of a deep, saturated palette left behind an afternoon rain.
I start my painting by first attaching an un-stretched canvas to my large, hand-made easel/wall. I am addicted to this procedure because this gives me a solid foundation behind 100% of the canvas. So it will not move or bounce compared to a stretched canvas on a traditional easel. It feels very much like painting a mural on a wall.
After a rough sketch from my chosen cropped photograph, I begin to block in solid areas with minimal blending. With these subtle blends as my base, I begin to pull out objects with thinned layers of acrylic paint, known as glazing. This technique allows me to control the light throughout my painting, resulting in a luminous glow that is satisfying to my eye and mood.