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Meet Deming Harriman, Artist in Little Haiti

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deming Harriman.

Deming, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I always knew I wanted to be an artist. Both my mother and my grandfather were creative people; my mother studied painting and my grandfather was a watercolorist later on in life. I had grown up working on my art and was lucky to be encouraged by my family and peers to pursue my passion.

I went to college at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where I got a BFA in Illustration with a concentration in Book Arts. I had originally studied writing and illustrating children’s books. I was very influenced by animation and comics growing up and had planned to pursue a career in that field post-college. My senior year, however, I took a collage class which really changed everything. I started making fine art pieces and my focus completely shifted away from illustration. I truly connected to the work I was making and the process of collage. After graduating, I moved back to my home in Miami to pursue a career in the fine arts.

Once I was back in Miami, I began looking for opportunities in the city to get more engaged in the art community here. I was accepted into the South Florida Art Center residency program and this really helped to shape my practice as a working artist. There was an amazing community of artists and staff who were all helpful in guiding me through the early stages of my art career.

Since then, I have been working as an artist in Miami doing a number of projects and exhibitions, as well as holding my first two solo shows in the city. I have been able to work with a number of amazing organizations such as the Wolfsonian Museum, MOCA Museum and Bakehouse Art Complex teaching collage and giving workshops. I participated in the Art Table Florida Chapter’s mentorship program and collaborated with Fashion Inspires More to host my second solo show during the Miami Fashion Film Festival. I now work with Superfine! The Fair: the hyper-curated, accessible art fair. I had actually participated as an exhibiting artist in their 2016 Miami art fair during Art Basel and afterward, was asked to join their team year round. I have continued my art practice alongside working with the fair and show my work across the country.

Has it been a smooth road?
While I did always know I wanted to be an artist, it was still a challenge to figure out what exactly I wanted to do within that genre. While I originally thought I wanted to work with writing and illustrating children’s books, something never quite fully clicked with me. I definitely struggled to find the medium and style that I preferred to work with and it wasn’t until I started leaning away from illustration and more into mix media/fine art, did things start to really make sense.

That said, it still has been a major learning process. There are so many different niches in the art world. How to market yourself, price your work and what you really want to say with your art, it all takes time to understand. Especially, since the path is different for every artist. The most helpful thing I have found is to listen to my intuition and take past mistakes as opportunities to grown and learn.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Artist story. Tell us more about the business.
I started off working with collage using mostly found books and magazines. I was focused on the series “Goddesses” for several years. This body of work was a way to express a change within myself that was hard to put into words, but I was able to communicate through my art. My art was a means of empowerment and I have carried that with me in everything I do today.

Once I felt this work was completed, I wanted to branch out in regards to medium. I started taking photographs and using that as my means of collage, manipulating them both by hand and digitally. I am now working on the “Alchemy Series” which includes photography, collage, painting, gold leafing, laser cutting and more. I love the idea of working with several techniques at once, especially when I am able to connect something traditional like painting with something new like laser cutting.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Like I said, I enjoy seeing how the old and new merge together. I feel as though the art world is embracing this as well. We are seeing mediums like digital art, collage, embroidery and graffiti all making their way into galleries, art fairs and museums. I like how contemporary art is pushing the old norms of what we consider high art. Art is a conversation to be had. We need to honor and educate ourselves on the history of it while continuing to challenge and embrace the concepts that come with the modern era.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Deming King Harriman

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