Let’s start with how you got into art.
I always doodled as a child. I didn’t call myself an artist until recently. I was extremely into fashion and the human aesthetic and how people present themselves. I really love clothes and I love style. I love all forms of self-expression.
Did you go to art school?
I went to Savannah College of Art and Design.
What was an important class to you?
Color theory. As far as art goes, I think it’s difficult to teach because its’ something that’s in you. Art school can be a little tricky in that way. It helps by way of giving me a network of artists that I can bounce ideas off of.
What class do you regret not taking?
Intro to film – I would love to understand how movies came about.
Why do you enjoy working with watercolors?
Watercolors force me to learn. It’s very hard to manipulate so I have to stop trying to control it and let it go by itself. As I started to try and make something beautiful on paper, I use the elements of balance, control, understanding, which is the same with my life. You’re not in full control but you’re directing it.
I’m very curious about An Invitation to an Orgy. It’s a very straight-forward phallic reference.
I feel like the titles happen before the art comes. I just liked how it sounded. An invitation to an orgy. After the work was painted, I realized it’s about figures coming together. In most of human history, we have segregation of our race, religion, where we grew up, our country. Our history is really based on our surface. We’re getting to an age where we can talk about our differences without as much aggression, which is important because history is difficult to get over. An Invitation to an Orgy is about everyone coming together for this common goal. We’re on a ball [Earth] spinning around in space. [Laughs] That’s reality.
And what about Dick Confidence?
[Laughs] I am mostly trying to entertain myself. Boys are weird and I had a moment where I was under a heat wave in New York. I was with my best friend Jon who is heterosexual and also my two friends, Eva and Mercedez. We went to a sprinkler and took our all our clothes because it was very hot. It wasn’t a sexual situation but I thought it was weird to reveal my penis to other people. I figured that they are all naked and I should have some dick confidence. Men are very secretly insecure. We are brought up to feel strong, and I like that – feeling masculine and being a man – but I think men should have more room to be more feminine to indulge in their curiosity, just like women. Many straight men don’t have that leeway.
What’s been the response to that series?
People tell me they like it. [Laughs] I try to open up dialogue and keep conversation real and forward-moving. I’ve noticed with men that we are becoming more open and less-judged in terms of how they are labeled all the time.
You mentioned that fashion is something that intrigues you. How would you describe your fashion sense?
I like to be feminine but look masculine and vice versa. I let the clothes speak for themselves and let my mood direct how to present myself for the day. If I feel aggressive, I’ll wear something more sharp. I might wear white if I am feeling more sensitive. If I feel insecure, I might wear all black.
What are your favorite pieces in your closet?
I have a pair of high-waisted navy blue jeans from the ’70s. They’re bell bottoms by Mavericks and ridiculous. I’ve had them since I was 20. I also love vintage and old things.
What trend you will never succumb to?
[Laughs] I feel like I always accidentally succumb to trends. This whole normcore thing is annoying. That said, I wore my Nike running shoes out last night. Normcore is something I don’t really understand.
You’re in Brooklyn now. Why did you move to New York?
The same reason everyone did. I came to figure things out. There’s a high level of hope here.
What are your pet peeves about New York?
The obvious self-importance. It’s how people make things happen here. You have to believe it to make it happen. Sometimes it’s interesting. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Other times it’s inspiring.
What websites do you frequently check?
I am so removed from the internet and I try to pull back.
What jewelry do you wear frequently?
I wear a silver band by Jill Platner and also some baby rings from Catbird.
I know you also love reading. What book would you recommend we check out?
Right now I love Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut. He makes beuatiful grand comparisons about life and human consciousness.
What musician do you want to see in concert?
I’m obsessed with FKA Twigs. She’s amazing. She does everything and is unstoppable.
Who should everyone follow on Instagram?
Anna Della Russo (@anna_dello_russo) because she’s completely insane and always having a good time with a big smile. Also, Snoop Dogg (@snoopdogg) and NASA (@nasa).
What’s your favorite drink?
What locations are on your travel bucket list?
I want to go to Cape Town and Indonesia.
And lastly, what is beauty to you?
Beauty is something that when I come into contact with, it changes me. Whether it’s in the form of a conversation, a person with a beautiful face, a compliment or an insult, beauty has the power to change you or compel you to think.
For more of Dez’Mon’s work, check out his website.