Monday, April 10, 2017

A Spotlight On New York's Beloved Abstract Expressionist Painter Dennis DeGraw

Dennis DeGraw is a spiritual painter who began developing his painting technique in 2012 shortly after attending the New York Academy of Art. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and creates his exquisite abstract paintings from his art studio located in the artsy and historic neighborhood of Gowanus, Brooklyn. DeGraw is a captivating artist who incorporates personal writings alongside his paintings, introducing viewers to his visual work through a personal expression of words and stories.

DeGraw’s work embodies the tenets and style of the Abstract Expressionist movement, his work encompasses not only the work of a painter who fills his canvases with fields of color and abstract forms, but also attacking his canvases with a vigorous gestural expressionism. He is committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes. The writings he produces are of a meta-physical nature, explaining his visual images in language and providing an extension of the work. DeGraw offers a secondary value through the “story-telling” of the paintings, giving the viewer a closer connection and understanding.

V:II Weight, Be The Void series. Oil on Canvas, 66″ x 60″, 2012.

One of our favorite series of DeGraw’s is Be The Void, created in 2012, based on an abstract submersion into depression, withdrawal and heartache, and the eventual rise of the light within. The artist conveys a sublime landscape of color and form, while introducing his writings, allowing the works to be humanized and understood. DeGraw is cataloging the events and feelings of his life, documenting a timeline of places and emotions through his works, creating a visual and written diary.

V:VI Aura, from Be The Void series. Oil on Canvas 60″ x 30″ x 2″ 2012.

Excerpt from Be The Void: “There is a time in life when one becomes overwhelmed with emotions and feelings of a tremendous void within, a deep chasm in one’s heart. There is no comfort to be found in what seems to be a dark cloud blanketing one’s soul. However, at some point, an urgency sets in, along with an overwhelming need to Empower oneself. In times like these, there is one simple formula; if there is a void, become the Void.” 

Charleston, Lifeboat series 2013.

In 2013, DeGraw created his acclaimed Lifeboat series, where his work visibly emerged into the light and new life sprang forth. In May 2013, he was inspired to begin a new collection of paintings while visiting with friends in South Carolina. The painting Charleston from this series was created in his dear friend Maxine Chapman’s living room of her home in West Ashley, South Carolina. “2013 was a year of many dimensions. So much was lost. So much was gained. And so much changed. Every emotion hit a peak. Every emotion hit a valley. While travelling all those miles of road along the way, something inside me made my spine stay rigid, my head stay straight, and my vision stay clear. I was forging against the resistance I faced with a sense of self-respect, and through it, creating art.” said DeGraw of this time.

Hamburg, Lifeboat series 2013.

“It was not until I unraveled all the paintings on January 1st, 2014 at my new residence in Bushwick, Brooklyn that I realized how much I loved every piece I had created. These paintings are my meditation, and because of this, I feel they are truly magical. I struggled with the decision as to whether to disclose the intimate stories and details that accompany each individual painting. As deeply personal as each painting is, I have decided to add their stories. I am grateful for every experience I have had in the past year. I am also grateful for every person who has entered my life, and for those who have exited it. Most of all, I continue to be grateful to be able to embrace my artwork each and every day. It is my magic. It is my definition. It is my Lifeboat.” -Dennis DeGraw.

California, Vibrations series, 2014.

“The thing about conciousness is that it is built on the fundamental notion that all living matter is connected metaphysically to one natural and intagible source, the universe. Over the years my meditation has given me the vivid colors that become my paintings.”

New work in the studio, 2017.

A true spiritual painter, DeGraw’s oil paintings transcend the ordinary visual experience by offering a powerful view into his life. Each piece is a unique recording of a specific time and place, bearing the artist’s raw feelings and ideas. For more information about Dennis DeGraw, to inquire about a painting or to commission a piece, email / to view more of the artist’s paintings and writings visit

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