James had an artist statement, which in our minds described who he was at his core. He was not just a McDemas; he was a rich combination of pure bred and true artist. A sort of smorgasbord if you will. The man was hip, as hip as any cool dude could be. Multi-dimension occurs when art and artist become inseparable. Now a finely crafted personality, James had developed a persona, he had come into his own. On March 31, 2002, James made this statement:
â€œFor me creating art is comparable to being an athlete. I work as hard as I can devoting all of my thoughts and energy towards a purpose until I feel total fatigue and cannot function artistically. Ultimately, it is the focus of thought from mind to hand that most intrigues me while heating an object. Working functionally gives me the skills that I require to solve technical problems when working non-functionally. I primarily use found objects in my work in hopes to bring about a change of view culturally and provide a greater value for our planet and the products we chose to use.â€
The Los Angeles Conservancy is a non-profit organization that works through education and advocacy to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County. The Conservancy asked James to become a member of the board. LA Conservancy and James were like two peas in a pod, they saw eye to eye. James worked at preserving old signage and wreckage along with every piece of stuff that he could find. He saw the art in it, the beauty of it. Is that not preservation? www.laconservancy.org. His legacy was everywhere even at Santa Monica City College who has a Mcdemas rocking chair sculpture, in their library. While in school, James naturally understood Chemistry, Engineering, Math, fine Art, and metal logy and developed into a regular Einstein with old artifacts.
And then there was, his collection, the multi-dimensional one, the bookshelves, coffee tables, gravestones, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, wall ornaments, work tables, bed frames, end tables, daily exercise equipment, skateboards, snowboards, skiing, ironing board chairs, biking, photographs, collected vintage pieces, books need we say more. Ebenlo Paintersong featured a written review of his experience of staying one night at the McDemas studio, which James affectionately called, â€œThe Art Service of California.â€ Ebenlo tells the story, â€œArtist Niciforos a minimalist artist was taking care of the studio for a short while after Jamesâ€™ passing. As we pulled up to the studio we took notice of a theatre type sign, and a sign that read, â€œTheatre Entranceâ€ with an arrow pointing at the door, â€œI laughed, and noticed that certain, â€œLife as Artâ€ overtones were present in the modern day art vernacular. When we walked in the door, there was stuff, everywhere. There were piles of stuff growing up from the floor, hanging from the ceiling, hanging off walls and windows, stored in freestanding shelf units. Tons and tons of salvaged metals from building projects. We saw Metal letter molds stored in a loft area, large and small. Metal pouring ladles, hanging from the wall. African wood art hung from the back wall. Neon signs hung near the kitchen area, one said â€œSEXâ€ in capital letters. Two aluminum fine-art-style rocking chairs hung from the ceiling, James had them priced at a $1,000 apiece, but they looked to be around $4,000-$5,000, and so meticulously constructed and sanded. The office area had no less than 15 lamps hanging from the ceiling, all with uniquely colored glass and metal fixtures that moved in different directions. Out behind the studio were sculptures in a garden with a statue of Neptune sitting above in much need of repair, fountain. There were rows upon rows of neon lights from building salvage projects, huge hand painted signs, and bunches of metal signs that looked as if they should be in a museum. We really soaked up all of the knowledge, his old school work ethics, the precision of the metal containers holding odd colored pens and pencils with different type of lead. There were rows and rows of metal letters in the shelving unit and odd pieces of a plaster rabbit and elephant stands. Anyone who met James was transformed, immediately and forever. At the heights of all that he could imagine he searched for multi-dimensions, which could be expressed as multi-media applications. Every moment of his life, James McDemas aspired to perfection; he experimented with life and made it bend to his will. He sought to heal through his creations. He left us with an amazing body of work, something personal for each one of us to see, to feel, to become one with. He infected us with his brilliance, his ART, and art, and we are forever grateful.www.mcdemas.com.
For more information on James McDemas, please contact Carolyn McDemas at 310-592-5660.Â
Photos of the James MCDemas collection provided courtesy ofÂ Larry Underhill at Larry Underhill Photography.
(323) 854-6620 cell or email@example.com