Chasing heroes with DeVon at Masters Gallery |

Chasing heroes with DeVon at Masters Gallery

Kimberly Nicoletti





Holy Batman or The Beatles, sultry Marilyn Monroe or Steven Tyler — take your pick: Each one nearly bursts off the walls of Masters Gallery with alluring fusions of collage, color, crystal and light.

The creator of the contemporary pop art, DeVon, employs archetypes and dreamlike images that revolve around the Hero’s Journey.

DeVon begins with an iconic figure, from superheroes to rock and Hollywood stars, and layers image upon image, as well as paint, diamond dust, crystals, veils and, sometimes, white or ultraviolet light set in shadow boxes, until he reaches a fine balance between bold information and great detail.

Some of his pieces are reminiscent of promo walls in Europe, where layers of posters endure, despite newer coverings. He often splatters paint over his final collages to generate a sense of movement, particularly in his superhero works. Then, he finishes the pieces — often measuring 60”x60” — with a thick layer of resin.

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The seed for DeVon’s pop-culture style was planted when he studied painting and drawing at the University of Utah. There, Andy Warhol’s images profoundly impressed him. But it wasn’t until around 2008, when he contacted pop artist Steve Kaufman’s agent to embellish the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Show, that DeVon saw his style “meet with a real need,” he says. When Kaufman passed away suddenly before the 2010 show, DeVon followed in his artistic footsteps while honing his own style. From there, his career as an artist exploded.

DeVon strives to reveal the essence of the icon he chooses, first by finding an image where the icon is expressing a “human moment of truth” and then by “reinterpreting that moment,” he says.

“I try to hit the highlights of the moment and let it speak for itself,” he says. “I’m trying to inspire people. We all want to be the heroes of our own life. I’m trying to hit that note and tell the hero’s story (because) when you hit that moment of truth, you inspire others.”

His pieces come to life as he brings out the tension between good and evil, perhaps by giving Batman one set of angelic wings and another set of demonic wings. At first, one may simply see Spiderman flying above buildings, but DeVon’s depiction holds a world rich with references to common personal dreams (such as flying), shadow sides and the collective unconscious.

He paints Clint Eastwood’s weathered face in bright and pastel colors, or gives him more of a rustic feel with reds and browns. He re-envisions Elvis as a cowboy — a pioneer in another land — and gives Superman a scarf and skis to soar over Vail.

“It’s just my way to make a difference in the world,” he says, “to tell people to wake up and live their life as if it was their own heroic story.”

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