Demetri Espinosa (@demetriespinosa) wants to make the indecipherable decipherable. His art is characterized by a colorful palette and abstract nature, but according to him, that’s subject to change at any given moment. Espinosa’s art is less focused on style than it is on a specific philosophy — he believes that abstraction can be harnessed to convey complex ideas. A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Espinosa says he is still mastering painting in its various forms. He won’t feel like he’s done learning until his creative process becomes instinctual, like breathing or walking. The Globe chatted with him about his unique approach to art.
Q. It’s easy to label your art as “abstract,” but it seems to be more than that. How would you describe your artistic process?
A. To be honest, I’ve struggled to get my work to where it is now. This is a time of discovery for me, so my creative process is more or less me trying everything and anything that feels right to me in the moment. I look at my art in the short term, so it can change from day to day. I’ve just been consistently comfortable making this style of art, it’s my safe space. My paintings are full of gestural forms and it’s really entirely abstract right now, but I could very easily decide to start painting photorealistic flowers tomorrow and that’s where I’d be. I just want what I create to be a direct manifestation of complex ideas rather than a drawn out and calculated creation.
Q. You mention that you’re in a time of discovery. What is that learning process like for you?
A. I think I’m still in the infancy of my time of discovery. But it starts with the most basic thing you’re taught, right? I started by getting my bearings straight and learning how to make a mark on a page with my hand, and to an extent, that’s still what I’m working on. Each day, I learn to become more comfortable with making a mark, with the goal of it becoming second nature, to the same degree that I’m comfortable taking a step or making a sound with my voice. I’m developing a kind of fluency with my body in relation to making marks on a page, or making a collage, or even making a sculpture. Once I have that fluency down, I can begin to tackle greater problems, in which I’d use my art to convey a complex idea. But right now, I’m still working on making it second nature, and abstract painting is where I’ve felt at home for a while.
Q. Further down on your feed you have sketches and realistic paintings of people and objects. What drew you away from that style of painting?
A. That was when I started school, so at that time I felt like I needed to develop an ability to render things as realistically as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s like writing poetry without knowing the alphabet. By stripping the artistic process back and looking at the bare components, like the simple idea of making a mark on a page, you have freer rein to express what you want to say and make what you want to make. I think that there’s a certain power in being able to represent something that can be recognized by others, but for the past couple years I’ve learned that I’m kind of going backwards in my learning process, and if you can create fluency and comfort in the creation of abstract art, then the rest will be second nature as well.