Born in the late 70’s in Beirut (Lebanon), DEM189 was quickly confronted to chaos and hysteria. Tarek aka Dem189 had to learn the limits of a city at war. Confined at home, during most of his free time outside school, he had to develop his own creative universe. From Lego to drawing, he built his own fantasies. Fascinated by war, he also lays on paper his fantasised weapons and war crafts, genesis to his future work.
In 1989 Dem moved to Paris, and discovered a whole new biotope with different rules and cultures. Ecstatic and overwhelmed by the prospect of this new life, Dem launched into graffiti in his early teens. Integrating various movements from punk rock to heavy metal, electro to hip-hip, switching from one to the other, he developed his own style.
Over the last 7 years, Dem has been working on paintings and installations in an abstract style, parallel to his graffiti world. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Moebius, Lebbeus Woods, Crumb… as well as urban architecture and decay.
His style is unpredictably diverse. Passed 30, Dem still refuses to limit himself to any particular movement. His inspirations and influences are countless. He focuses on exploring many sub-cultures. Urban by essence, he finds what inspires him roaming the streets, and allows himself to experiment with any technique and tools. His work in recent years has left the shores of lettering to venture into the realms of illustration and abstraction.
DEM189’s show ‘Ricochet’ opens at Backwoods Gallery Friday June 19th from 6pm and continues until Sunday July 5th.